Sadie Nash Leadership Project's Nash U Reimagines Mentoring Program with Newark Mentoring Movement
Sadie Nash Leadership Project (SNLP) is an award-winning leadership program working with young women and gender-expansive youth of color in New York City and Newark. They describe themselves as “operating at the intersection of love and rigor” and use a popular education approach to build critical consciousness, community, and college and career readiness. Sadie Nash’s Newark College Advisor, Kira Antoine, contacted the National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC) interested in learning about promising practices to build a robust mentorship component for Nash U, a program for high school seniors to receive support on college the application process.
Kira was introduced to the National Mentoring Resource Center by Elizabeth Weisholtz of the Newark Mentoring Movement (NMM). The Newark Mentoring Movement is MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership’s New Jersey affiliate and an enthusiastic supporter of mentoring in Newark and throughout New Jersey. Kira explained that while SNLP does have familiarity with mentorship, their current model was not meeting all the needs of Nash U. SNLP runs a Summer Dean Internship program where they recruit rising college juniors and seniors to support young people in their Summer Institute. It is a highly structured paid internship with three weeks of intensive training followed by an opportunity to work with a group of high school students for six weeks of Summer Institute. Kira was interested in exploring how they could recruit volunteers from the community to provide individual support on college applications and build meaningful connections without relying on the paid internship model. “We understand the importance of having someone who can guide you through the process – someone who can connect with them on a personal level and build those deep relationships,” she explained.
The previous year, Kira had introduced a mentorship component in the spring and was interested in extending that program. She was committed to partnering with NMM to ensure that mentors could be involved earlier and would be committed to their mentees and could be more integrated into the overarching program.
To meet that need, Elizabeth adapted information from several different NMRC resources, including MENTOR’s tools for youth of color, social-emotional learning, and growth mindset to curate a specialized training(s) for Sadie Nash to implement their work and reach their goals. The trainings that were created were specifically designed to meet the needs of the program and population, supported Sadie Nash by creating a road-map for maximizing mentoring matches, ensuring that they were long-lasting, productive bonds for both mentors and mentees.
The trainings inspired Sadie Nash to consider how mentorship occurs within the college program and how they can involve their participants to be the drivers of the matching process themselves and therefore be more invested in the relationship. “We want to give them a say in who they will be matched with so that they are more committed to the match.” Kira said. She has been focused on understanding the different components of the training modules, and is applying some practices during this current schoolyear. Kira is looking forward to launching a comprehensive mentorship program in fall 2019.
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.