National Mentoring Resource Center Blog

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Mentoring Innovations in Times of Crisis: Serving Youth with Disabilities

FEBRUARY 28, 2021

Mentoring Innovations in Times of Crisis

The coronavirus has created an unprecedented crisis which has impacted the way we live, work, and interact.  Mentors are needed now more than ever to support youth during this time of COVID-19, providing comfort, connection, and suggestions to navigate this uncharted environment.  For many young people with disabilities, COVID-19 posed an even greater risk due to the high-risk nature of many health conditions and disabilities. 

We have long believed that practices which are inclusive and trauma informed benefit all youth. The benefits of these practices have become even more pronounced in the pandemic as the country experienced a collective trauma and increased need to adapt. Below we have highlighted the ways we’ve applied five trauma informed principles: voice and choice; a culture of self-care, promoting safety, access to resources and cultural humility, adapted from the Boston Public Health Commission’s Trauma Awareness and Resilience Training for Boston Area Youth Workers. These principles are interwoven and intersect with best practices for inclusion; as we have pivoted our programming during the pandemic, we have kept these practices in mind as a foundation.

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Research Alert: New Article Explores Program Factors That Influence Early Match Closures

FEBRUARY 28, 2021

We are happy to announce that some innovative original research developed by the National Mentoring Resource Center has been accepted into the journal Prevention Science and published earlier this year. Research Board members Sam McQuillin (Univ. of South Carolina) and Michael Lyons (Univ. of Virginia) led this research project, which applied cutting edge machine learning techniques to examine predictors of early match closure in the responses of a national mentoring program survey.  Among all of the program characteristics examined, the frequency of ongoing training and match support was the one factor that stood out as being a solid predictor of whether a program’s matches lasted as long as intended.

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Bullying Prevention Is a Community Effort at Camp Mariposa

OCTOBER 16, 2020

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, but at Camp Mariposa, every month is bullying prevention month. Camp Mariposa is a national addiction prevention and mentoring program that serves youth ages 9–17 who are affected by a family member’s substance use disorder. Camp Mariposa is funded and coordinated by Eluna, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to support children and families impacted by addiction. Camp Mariposa uses a group and peer mentoring model in which youth and trained adult mentors make a one-year commitment to the program. Many youth who attend Camp Mariposa have experienced bullying and significant trauma—including abuse, neglect, and the addiction-related loss of loved ones due to incarceration and/or death. The mentors and staff at Camp Mariposa create a safe and supportive community where kids can be kids and escape the challenges of their daily lives.

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Creativity During COVID: How Three Young Adults Are Using the Arts to Cope and Learn Resilience

JULY 16, 2020


Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona is a nonprofit agency that transforms children’s trauma to resilience through the arts. In 2013 Free Arts started an Alumni program which has grown to include over 25 active alumni. In the Alumni program teens and young adults who have participated in previous Free Arts programs, build skills and community by engaging in art activities, leadership training, and apprenticeships. Most Free Arts Alumni have transitioned out of congregate care (group homes, shelters, or treatment centers) and are living on their own or with family members. During COVID-19, Free Arts has been checking in on Alumni weekly, delivering art supplies, and hosting connection calls where alumni can share their art, feelings, struggles, and triumphs with one another. One thing that has stood out during these calls is how resilient the alumni have been and how they are using their creativity to express themselves and cope during this difficult time.

Free Arts recently interviewed a few alumni to understand more deeply what their COVID experiences have been like and how they are using art to cope. These are their stories and responses.

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Supportive Approaches for Youth Coping with Juvenile Justice and Substance Misuse

MAY 8, 2020
An Interview with Alicia Espinoza, Project Hero Coordinator at Escondido Education COMPACT

Project Hero

In many communities throughout the country, there is a need for dedicated support and prevention strategies for youth who misuse substances. In response to this need, innovative programs have been organized, centered around helping youth to cope with the impact that substances have on themselves and their peers.

In Escondido, California, Alicia Espinoza coordinates a mentoring program funded by OJJDP that serves justice-involved youth and that places a significant emphasis on not only supporting youth to reduce recidivism, but also to overcome substance misuse. The program, called Project Hero, works closely with several groups of important stakeholders, including law enforcement.

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