Grizzlies Foundation/MMP brings mentoring focus and local leaders to conference

Posted by JD Graffam on March 10, 2011

Panelists at the DEFY conference

Panelists at the DEFY conference

Memphis Mentoring Partnership (MMP) Manager Alayne Shoenfeld was a guest speaker at the 2011 DEFY (Drug Education for Youth) Conference in March, an annual event co-sponsored by United States Navy & Marine Corps Drug Education for Youth Program, United States Air Force Medical Operations Agency, Office of the Surgeon General and the Department of Justice Community Capacity Development Office. More than 200 attended the three-day event, many coming from as far away as Hawaii, Japan and Europe.

Alayne addressed a general session on the opening day, describing the Grizzlies Foundation’s focus on mentoring and reviewing the “Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring,” the evidence-based standards promoted by MENTOR/The National Mentoring Partnership which serve as the basic structure for successful, sustainable mentoring programs.

The following day, Alayne was joined by colleagues from MMP member programs for a panel discussion. Participants included Alisha Henley (Memphis PREP Program), Desiree Robertson (Girls Inc.) and Capt. Chad Harris and Capt. Chris Wilson (Pinnacle Airlines Life Skills Program). In describing their different approaches to youth mentoring, panelists demonstrated the changing and expanding world of mentoring, although the “Elements of Effective Practice” remain the common thread that unites mentoring leaders and practitioners to high program standards.

The DEFY program is a prevention program for youth aged 9 to 12 conducted at sites throughout the world serving both military and civilian families and youth. DEFY offers leadership and life skills training to help young people resist drugs and develop positive behaviors and social skills.

Although a mentoring component had been a traditional part of this effort, the 2011 conference title “Back to Basics” indicated a commitment to strengthening mentoring as part of the youth development strategy. Conference organizers called on the Grizzlies Foundation and the Memphis Mentoring Partnership to provide guidance and expertise to get back on track to excellence in youth mentoring throughout the DEFY system.

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The Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation is committed to serving Memphis youth through education and mentoring.