AMP! Metro Richmond Upgrades Evaluation Procedures and Measures With TA from MENTOR Virginia
AMP! Metro Richmond is a one-to-one, school-based mentoring program that connects students and mentors in an environment that create self-confidence, stimulate learning, and encourage career discovery for middle school youths in the Richmond Region. It operates in T.C. Boushall Middle School on Richmond’s Southside and pairs youths with adult mentors for the duration of the academic year.
Laura Leporati, Program Coordinator at AMP! requested no-cost NMRC technical assistance (TA) in order to improve its evaluation procedures and measures. AMP!’s request was fulfilled by the MENTOR Virginia and TA provider John Harris. The TA enhanced AMP!’s evaluation procedures and measures, resulting in the creation of a new outcome survey as well as a database for inputting survey data and guidance for how to make the best use of the data.
In order to assess their mentoring program, AMP! Completed the National Quality Mentoring System (NQMS) process. The NQMS is an assessment system that evaluates program’s practices in alignment with The Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™. During this assessment, they realized they need to focus on their match evaluation procedures and measures. According to Leporati, “we wanted a better method of gathering data. We realized we needed to focus on that area and call in the experts.” In order to complete this change, they applied for technical assistance from the NMRC.
That request connected AMP! with Harris. Over the course of several months, Harris collaborated with AMP! using phone conferences and digital communications to learn about their organization and work to create new evaluation procedures to meet AMP!’s evolving goals and standards. The process started with Harris conducting an evaluation of his own. “I started by interviewing people from AMP!, to determine their expertise and set goals,” reports Harris. Building off of this information, Harris created new surveys and tools to support AMP!’s work.
Drawing on his experience as a TA provider as well as a host of tools including the NMRC’s Measurement Guidance Toolkit for Mentoring Programs, Harris synthesized a new outcome survey for AMP!. He also helped the program integrate the Match Characteristics Questionnaire and the Youth Mentoring Survey to help AMP! measure the strength of its matches by canvassing mentors and youth at the end of the school year. Harris also worked with AMP! to create a database for tracking survey data from the start and end of the school year. Additionally he trained staff to use these new tools.
These exciting tools will be invaluable going forward for AMP!, and according to Leporati, the experience itself couldn’t have been better. “John was extremely supportive and very patient as we learned these new concepts.” Harris agreed that the experience was positive, saying that “Laura was just a pleasure to work with. She asked great questions and was highly invested in figuring out how to do the best mentoring.” He added, “I’ve done a lot of this type of work through the NMRC. I think the NMRC has just been a fantastic resource for programs like AMP!”
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.