The Council of Legal Education Opportunity Collaborates with Maryland MENTOR to Recruit New Mentors, and Keep Mentors Involved


The Council of Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) is a national organization that works expand opportunities for minority and low-income students to attend law school. Their CLICKS program (CLEO Legally Inspired College Kohort of Students) is a program which connects high-school aged youth to pre-law opportunities including academic and professional mentoring.

In order to enhance the opportunities provided by CLICKS, Manika Heilig, CLEO’s Regional Coordinator for D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (DMV), requested no-cost technical assistance from the National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC). She worked with Maryland MENTOR consultant Jeannette Simon, in order to grow and develop CLICKS programming. Using in-person learning sessions along with teleconferencing and emails, the pair was able to collaborate to elevate the level of service provided by CLICKS.

CLICKSOne major goal Heilig and Simon achieved was around improving CLICKS’ tools for managing partnering mentoring programs and CLEO mentors. “Jeannette has been just awesome” Manika says. “She’s been really beneficial assisting CLEO and me as a regional coordinator.”

One major project that Simon collaborated on with Manika was the creation of a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for partnering programs and mentors. That SOP is in the draft stage and is expected to be complete and begin utilization in DMV before the end of the year and will be used in not just Manika’s region but in all states where CLEO is active. In addition, Jeannette and Manika conceptualized new methods for mentor recruitment and retention. “[Jeannette] was great. She helped come up with ideas to recruit new mentors, and keep mentors involved.”

Heilig and Simon also worked together on the development of a number of tools to facilitate positive and strong mentoring relationships, including an e-mentoring app. This project aims to better connect mentors and mentees, and track their relationships. According the Manika, it will increase the safety of the program’s youth and also allow CLICKS to better coordinate learnings for their mentors. As part of that goal, Jeannette helped develop mentor training and support modules that will be available for users on the e-mentoring platform.

Manika hopes to collaborate with Jeannette and MENTOR Maryland again in the future, and is already in the process of the applying for additional no-cost Technical Assistance through the NMRC. Simon reports that such an arrangement would suit her just fine: “Manika is very receptive to learning and coachable. That really made it work.”

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.

Learn more about CLIC at CLEO here, and Maryland MENTOR here. Learn more about E-Mentoring here. Submit a request for no-cost technical assistance for your youth mentoring program here.

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