Big Brothers Big Sisters of Elkhart County Collaborates with MENTOR Indiana to Develop Organization Goals, Identity
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Elkhart County (BBBS Elkhart) is a BBBS affiliate based in Goshen, Indiana and the surrounding Elkhart County. Their organization focuses on one-to-one, community based mentoring relationships, which help youth in the program develop confidence, competency, and caring.
Big Brothers Big Sisters underwent a national rebranding effort in fall 2018. At BBBS Elkhart, this prompted a corresponding effort to unify and clarify organizational goals and identity. As part of this process, they sought out options for outside support. It was during this search that they learned about no-cost Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) from the National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC) from MENTOR Indiana at the Indiana Youth Institute.
After applying for no-cost TTA, BBBS Elkhart was paired with NMRC TTA provider Jessica Koscher. Jessica collaborated with BBBS Elkhart on achieving a number of goals. One of the major ones was helping BBBS Elkhart transition their branding to the new standard. In order to achieve this goal, Jessica worked with a number of BBBS Elkhart staff to produce a rebranded slide deck for the Indiana organization, adapted from BBBS of America materials.
Additionally Jessica worked with BBBS Elkhart to clarify their identity on a deeper level, distributing surveys to volunteers to learn their understanding of their organizations’ goals, and working with board members to develop an updated organizational philosophy for BBBS Elkhart. According to Menessah Mullett, BBBS Elkhart’s Executive Director, their philosophy hadn’t been updated since 1985. This work began with a board retreat, and continued with the previously-mentioned surveys and other collectors. Says Menessah, “Jessica really helped bring data into the picture,” helping BBBS Elkhart learn how their employees and partners perceived their work and their organization’s identity. “This helped us identify misnomers,” explains Mullett, “and address them.”
According to Menessah Mullett, there’s still more work to be done. “We want to focus on updating our specific strategies.” What form that work takes remains to be seen, but Jessica Koscher had the following to say about it: “They have a very energetic board of directors,” she said. “Their chair doesn’t want to put the things we discussed on the back burner.”
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 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Elkhart County here and MENTOR Indiana at the Indiana Youth Institute here. Submit a request for no-cost technical assistance for your youth mentoring program here.