Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania Provides Support to NurturePA

NuturePAAn organization that combines technology with volunteer mentors to help parents access information and parenting support, NurturePA is a program driven by parents helping other parents. Through the nurture program, experienced and knowledgeable mentors use text messaging to provide support and encouragement to new parents, sharing information and answering questions.

Mentors use a program that enables them to easily send and receive text messages from a computer or tablet to help put parents in touch with the relevant information they need. The program provides a database of critical information that includes regional resources and child development milestones compiled from recognized, evidence-based sources.

Mentors are available to digitally dialog with parents when they need assistance in understanding information or obtaining additional information about parenting, and can provide emotional support to parents if needed.

To support the growing number of mentors and new parents participating in the nurture program, and to strengthen recruitment plans and screening strategies for new participants at NurturePA, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR)’s Pennsylvania affiliate, the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania (MPSWPA) provided no-cost training and technical assistance to program staff through the OJJDP National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC).

MENTOR partners with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to deliver the NMRC to the mentoring field. In addition to convening a Research Board which develops evidence-based reviews about mentoring topics, and offering a comprehensive mentoring resource center website, the NMRC provides mentoring programs nationwide with the opportunity to request and receive no-cost technical assistance to help them more deeply incorporate evidence-based practices into their programming. Once a mentoring program requests technical assistance, their request is assigned to a local or regional technical assistance provider within MENTOR’s network of affiliate Mentoring Partnerships, like MPSWPA.

“In connecting with NurturePA through the NMRC, we were able to provide a network of resources - including training, research and best practices - to help improve the quality and effectiveness of such an important program,” technical assistance provider Dana Gold said.

As part of the training and technical assistance offered through the NMRC, NurturePA and MPSWPA staff met monthly to discuss mentoring tools and resources, and review best practices for mentoring programs as described in The Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™.

The support from MPSWPA was crucial to the organization’s early development and success, according to the NurturePA senior manager Kate Brennan. NurturePA plans to request additional assistance through the NMRC as the organization grows.

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