Mentor: Open Table

Nothing could help a youth more than a group of caring adults choosing to invest in their life and future. Cuyahoga County has a mentor program called Open Table, designed for young adults aged 18-24, who leave foster care. Approximately 120+ youth each year leave foster care and often encounter obstacles like early pregnancy, jail, and homelessness. We believe every young person deserves to know they are worthy of permanent, supportive relationships. We need your help.

What is the Open Table Model?

Supportive Communities:

  • Tables (communities) are groups of people serving a youth formerly involved with the foster care system.
  • Training and support are provided so that members understand how to connect and support.
  • Table members use their professional and personal experiences to help the youth develop and implement a plan to move his/her life towards self-sufficiency.

Mutual Relationships:

  • This model that creates safety and stability in the life of a youth.
  • Members create change through friendship, relationship, and connection.
  • Members are willing to serve and offer their time and ideas to help another person organize their goals and achieve them.
  • Table members become friends working together to help a friend move forward in his or her life.


  • Open Table is a tool for personal growth and reflection for all participants.
  • Everyone involved is changed by the work that is completed at the meetings and in the ongoing relationships that are created through this work together.
  • It is purposeful, meaningful and deeply spiritual in the connections created between the members.

Organization and Planning:

  • Tables meet weekly for one hour for up to a year.
  • Table members work with their youth on whatever goals he or she has and helps create ideas that support the achievement of their goals.
  • Fun events are also part of the time table members spend together.


  • People in organizations or congregations have extensive networks that they use daily in their personal and professional lives.
  • People in poverty do not have access to networks in the same way.
  • Open Table members utilize their church/business networks to help expand our friend’s circle of connections.


How to Sign Up:

We can’t develop these tables without willing volunteers. If you want to sit on the table, or engage your faith community, friends or co-workers to sit on a table, please email