Talbot Mentors Implements Process Improvements, Recruitment Support with Maryland MENTOR
Talbot Mentors is a youth mentoring organization in Talbot County, Maryland. Founded in 1997, Talbot Mentors is focused on mobilizing adults to make a difference in the lives of young people in Talbot County’s communities. It is focused on improving and affecting the lives of the area’s most underserved youth. Talbot Mentors specializes in leveraging its one-to-one mentoring model to create lasting, impactful relationships between youth and adults.
Talbot Mentors just celebrated its 20th year serving its community. However, even with the organization’s long history and depth of experience, Talbot Mentors knew they still had opportunities for growth. According to Talbot Mentors’ executive director, Gerson Martinez, “what we have done for many years is operate with a lot of enthusiasm or energy, but without a lot of concrete knowledge of what effective mentorship looks like.” According to Tripper Showell, Talbot Mentors’ Program Committee Chair, “we didn’t know what we didn’t know.”
When Talbot Mentors first sought NMRC training and technical assistance, they weren’t entirely sure what to expect. “I was very concerned about being “trapped in a box,” said Mr. Showell. However, after their first contact with Maryland MENTOR’s TA provider, Dr. Jeffrey Kranzler, they were much more confident. A licensed clinical social worker and the founder of Maryland-based Leaf Mentoring, Dr. Kranzler is an experienced provider of NMRC TA. This experience translated into confidence for Talbot Mentors.
As they worked together, Talbot Mentors and Dr. Kranzler’s relationship began to crystalize. “It grew organically,” reports Mr. Martinez. “He put us at ease, allowed us to speak, and heard our concerns.” And as the process progressed, the technical assistance Dr. Kranzler administered started to pay dividends.
Much of the change instituted at Talbot Mentors was related to process improvements in the recruiting phase. Gerson reported that putting together a mentor job description was very effective at unifying the Talbot Mentors’ message and providing the general public (mentors and mentees alike) with a clearer picture of the positive benefits and outcomes of the mentoring experience.
Process improvements also enhanced the turnaround time on mentor applications. According to Jazmine Gibson, Talbot Mentors’ Program Manager, it used to take as long as two months’ time from application to mentoring match. Now, thanks to streamlined processes for screening and outreach, she’s seeing application turnaround happen in little more than a week.
For Talbot Mentors, this is just the start. “We’re beginning to build a calendar for 2019,” says Gerson. “All of it is rooted in what we have learned in our technical assistance and training.” For his part, Dr. Kranzler is energized by the growth he saw at Talbot Mentors. “The TA process is amazing,” he said. “I can confidently recommend it to anyone looking to start or continue a mentoring program.”
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 state and local affiliates and TA providers. 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 improve operations, assess impact, or adapt their program to changing or emerging community needs.