Cultural Competency Focus
As part of our new strategic vision, MMP made cultural competency a centerpiece of our work with programs in 2015 and continued to build a more inclusive mentoring movement. We offered cultural competency trainings to youth-serving organizations to help program staff better support diverse young people in relationships.
We made cultural competency and diversity the focus of the James G. Connolly Tribute Fund for 2015 and awarded $10,000 each to Sociedad Latina and Big Sister Association of Greater Boston. These funds will help the two programs improve organizational practices and strengthen staff training and hiring practices.
The Northeast Conference on Youth Development and Mentoring
In November, MMP hosted the Northeast Conference on Youth Development and Mentoring, bringing together over 250 staff members, youth workers, funders, stakeholders, and others who support youth from across the region. For the first time, the Conference was expanded to include attendees from programs outside the formal youth mentoring world. Eighteen workshops were offered on topics including cultural competency, access for youth with disabilities, media outreach and publicity, LGBTQ support, trauma informed approaches, and more.
Keynote speaker Sylvia Ferrell-Jones, President of YWCA Boston, spoke about the importance of positive adults in the lives of all young people, sharing her personal experiences as a mentor and a mentee. A youth panel told their empowering stories of how mentors influenced their lives for the better. The day ended with a dynamic youth performance by the renowned Springfield SciTech Band.
Survey data of attendees showed high marks for the quality of the Conference and nearly unanimous feedback that the Conference met or exceeded expectations. We thank presenting sponsor Bank of America for supporting this important event.
Focus on Targeted Communities
As part of our strategic vision, we identified four areas of the state with both a need to grow the numbers of empowering youth-adult relationships and the resources and partnerships to make that happen. These targeted communities include: Cape Cod, Hampden County, Lynn and Lawrence, and the Boston neighborhoods of Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan. During 2015, we enhanced partnerships and built new relationships with youth-serving organizations and stakeholders in these regions. We conducted regional meetings in each of the targeted communities to share the regional findings of our Mass Mentoring Counts survey. In Lynn, thanks to support from the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, we enhanced the Lynn Mentoring Network by bringing in participants from both structured mentoring and other youth development organizations from the area.
Highland Street AmeriCorps Ambassadors of Mentoring
The 2014-2015 Highland Street AmeriCorps Ambassadors of Mentoring closed their term having collectively impacted over 10,000 youth, recruited 325 new mentors, and served more than 40,000 hours at 24 host sites across Massachusetts. MMP is able to administer this program and build capacity at mentoring programs through the continued support of the Highland Street Foundation.
“Over the years, the contributions of the AOMs really have gone beyond adding to our capacity and just being someone performing tasks. They have helped us create better practices and rethink how we administer our mentoring program, which allows us to serve more students with a better program each year."
David Mazor, Executive Director, Reader to Reader (Amherst, MA)
Training and Technical Assistance
MMP provided over 500 hours of technical assistance to mentoring and youth development programs that targeted their program’s specific needs and enhanced their capacity to provide high quality service. Some of the highlights of this assistance included:
- helping a mentoring program develop staff capability to support young people experiencing trauma
- implementing a youth culture training to help program staff give mentors the tools they need to build relationships with young people and ensure that youth voices are being heard
- working with a program to develop a formal policies and procedures manual and help them become an MMP Partner Level member
A major area of focus in 2015 was helping young people and the adults that support them recognize the importance that relationships play in their future career success. With our partners as State Street, we trained 240 Boston Public High School students to help them think about connections with adults and ways that those relationships could support them in their life and careers.
In collaboration with Boston Public Health Commission, we trained 200 youth supervisors to help them provide support and workforce readiness skills to young people working in youth-serving organizations.