National Mentoring Resource Center Blog

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A Spotlight on The Mentoring Enhancement Demonstration Project (MEDP)

SEPTEMBER 17, 2018
BY: BOBBI JO ORTIZ, LCSW, CEO & ANNETTE BAUMANN, BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS (BBBS) EL PASO

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) El Paso

This blog post is part of a brief series MENTOR has put together highlighting the work of grantees of Mentoring Enhancement Demonstration Project (MEDP) funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. This innovative project, which began in FY 2012, was intended to test whether mentoring programs could make enhancements to their usual services that strengthened mentors’ ability to serve as advocates and take on more of an explicit teaching role with their mentees. The hope was that this approach might strengthen mentor-mentee relationships and lead to stronger outcomes for youth.

Now that the evaluation of the project is coming to a close, we wanted to highlight the unique and innovative approaches to teaching and advocacy developed by several of the funded organizations. These posts highlight their excellent work and can illustrate for other mentoring programs how they might approach program improvements and participate in research projects in the future. The National Mentoring Resource Center thanks each grantee for their contributions to the project and for sharing their reflections with us here.

Below is one of many more blog posts to come detailing MEDP grantees wonderful contributions to the mentoring field.

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College & Career Readiness Program Spotlight: Adopt a Class

SEPTEMBER 14, 2018
BY: MELANIE ERVIN, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATION, ADOPT A CLASS

Adopt a Class ModelAdopt A Class, a Unique Approach to Group Mentoring

Hi Friends, It’s Melanie Ervin, Director of Communication of Adopt A Class. I am here to share our work and 3 lessons we’ve learned that has sustained our program year over year.

But first, What is Adopt A Class?

Adopt A Class (AAC) is group mentoring program in Greater Cincinnati that connects businesses and civic groups to students in high poverty schools. Serving students Pre-K through 8th grade for more than 15 years, the AAC program positively impacts the students AND businesses involved. Today, Adopt A Class serves over 6000 students with the help of over 2500 mentors, representing 150 organizations.

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Improving Mentoring by Improving Mentor Training

AUGUST 22, 2018
BY: SAM MCQUILLIN, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND NMRC RESEARCH BOARD MEMBER

In 1964, the famed American psychologist B.F. Skinner predicted how education might change by 1984. Reflecting on the precedent for this prediction, he wrote “Improving education seldom takes the form of improving teaching.” I was confused the first time that I read this quote. What he meant, as I understand it, was that efforts to improve education as an institution rarely come from efforts to improve the conditions in which people learn (i.e., teaching). He argued that many educational improvements come from finding better teachers, enhancing the aesthetics of curriculum, teaching more of what is necessary, and less of what is not, and expanding education through mass media. He thought good and well of these efforts, but was perturbed by the fact that very little educational improvements focused on improving, or even using, the science of how people learn and, maybe more importantly, forget. He went on to argue that science has something to say about how people learn, and it’s a shame that we don’t use that science to improve what people know and do. In 1984, if we were to heed his advice, we would be able to teach students more with greater efficiency.

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LGBTQ Spotlight: Queer* Therapeutic Services

JULY 19, 2018
BY: LUCA PAX AND RP WHITMORE-BARD, QUEER ASTERISK THERAPEUTIC SERVICES
LGBTQMENTOR is shining a light on LGBTQ mentoring. In the process, we have asked prominent and impactful LGBTQ serving organizations to write about the communities they serve and the methods they use to reach and teach LGBTQ mentees.

As queer and trans people, we are incredibly resilient but we are also a vulnerable population. In recent decades, an increase in queer and trans visibility has made the world a better place for us to live. Still, the following has been recently reported:

Between 20-30% of transgender people struggle with addiction compared to an estimated 9% of the general population. (The Center for American Progress)

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School Attendance and Mentoring: What's the Connection?

JUNE 26, 2018
BY: DELIA HAGAN, PROGRAM DIRECTOR, MENTOR: THE NATIONAL MENTORING PARTNERSHIP

School AttendanceIn my work as a Program Director at MENTOR, I talk about mentoring with many different audiences, with the goal of ensuring that caring adults serving as mentors, and the programs that support them, have access to high quality resources and tools that equip them to be effective partners, allies, supports and friends to the young people they serve. At MENTOR, we believe that all young people need and deserve to have mentors who support, encourage, and celebrate them as they navigate life’s challenges and experiences and realize their potential. Across all the adults I have spoken to, there tends to be agreement that mentors have made all the difference in our lives, no matter where we found them – in school, on the sports field, in a formal mentoring program, or just informally in our neighborhoods and communities. Those who had mentors at critical times in life when support and inspiration were needed often share with me that this changed everything for them, while who did not often share that it would have.

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