Virginia Mentoring Partnership Provides Guidance in Launch of Stand By Me Mentoring Program
Stand By Me was started by people who recognize the need for community mentoring in the Staunton area but who not wish to re-invent the wheel. As a result, its then staff of one - President and Chairman Marc Armstrong - sought technical assistance from the Virginia Mentoring Partnership (VMP) to ensure that he designed and launched the program in alignment with mentoring best practices.
The Stand By Me program, which is a part of the Staunton Mentoring Alliance, connects Staunton City High School students with adults who help guide students through the transition from high school to college or employment. Mentors also provide support to help the student maintain or improve school success and explore and prepare for future career opportunities.
Stand By Me sought technical assistance from VMP to ensure that their program model emphasized the safety of their mentees and gained the trust of the community. “Adults are making a significant commitment as mentors,” said President Marc Armstrong, “and we want to be sure that the program helps build on this in order to create successful, long-term relationships.” Stand By Me partners with other organizations in the community, including the public school system and community service agencies, and gives them a seat on an advisory board. “VMP's TA gave us the understanding as to how best to serve stakeholder organizations in the community”.
VMP provided one-on-one consulting and training to Stand By Me, to help Marc incorporate the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ into the program. VMP assisted in creation of a training for new mentors and developing the program's policy and procedures, and facilitated meetings between program and school district leadership to build their partnership. This partnership agreement helped launch the mentoring program. VMP also saw a need to assist in building staff capacity and encouraged the program to apply for an AmeriCorps VISTA, who is now serving this program. VMP assisted at a recruitment event to provide coaching on recruiting mentors and connecting with parents. The Stand By Me mentoring program will be entering their first full year of operation this year and continues to work closely with VMP as they develop additional partnerships that will strengthen their youth mentoring program.
“Working with Virginia Mentoring Partnership helped as a fast-start to develop the program, and more importantly, it engendered trust between the different organizations involved in this effort. As a result, there are excellent working relationships with all stakeholder organizations, from the local public school district to community service organizations, so that we can build and expand the impact of community mentoring in Staunton, VA.”
MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) partners with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to deliver the National Mentoring Resource Center (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 and TA providers. As in the example of Stand By Me, new and emerging mentoring programs may benefit from technical assistance to help them design and implement programs that meet quality standards as outlined in the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™, while existing or established programs may utilize TA to meet improve operations, assess impact, or adapt their program to changing or emerging community needs.