MENTOR celebrates 20 years of leadership in mentoring with States Caucus members

Posted by JD Graffam on July 07, 2010

Alayne Shoenfeld and Jenny Koltnow attended the annual MENTOR States Caucus gathering in Boston in June with state and local mentoring partnership representatives from across the country.

Mentoring partnership leaders met for the annual MENTOR States Caucus to address important topics in mentoring and share knowledge and resources. In addition to presentations on strategies to close the national mentoring gap and updates on research and public policy issues, the agenda included the National Quality-Based Membership Project.

Long-time Memphis Mentoring Partnership (MMP) members will remember that the partnership was formed with a three-tier membership structure based on the Elements of Effective Practice, and training and technical assistance provided was designed to move members toward the highest level. Those operating strong, sustainable, and effective programs received special recognition and benefits. An ongoing assessment process tracked progress toward that goal. Based on the model used by MMP and several other state and local mentoring partnerships, MENTOR/The National Mentoring Partnership has supported a year-long effort led by our colleagues in Oregon to establish a framework for all MENTOR affiliates to identify those “programs of excellence” and award a national “stamp of approval.” In addition to assisting mentoring programs to achieve a higher level of quality, the process is designed to increase the credibility of the mentoring movement and assure the funding community that dollars directed to programs will result in a positive impact on the children we serve.

As we work with our colleagues across the nation to complete this project, part of our effort for 2010-2011 will be identifying and reviewing the outcomes defined in the program plans of our members. We will do this through individual conversations and group sessions on program design and evaluation methods.

Right now, 18 million young people in the U.S. need mentors, but only 3 million have one. Challenges to closing the national mentoring gap affecting 15 million children include varying quality of programs and lack of a link between program practices and outcomes. To increase the impact of mentoring nationwide, we must sharpen our focus on what we want to accomplish, how we’re going to get there, and how we will evaluate our results. Watch for more information as this conversation continues.


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