The most recent of workshops shared ideas and best practices on building strategic partnerships and how to unite the mentoring movement to drive investment in mentoring, presented by Senior Director Joellen Spacek from the US-based mentoring affiliate network, MENTOR (formerly the National Mentoring Partnership).
Some of the key takeaways from this month workshop were how important it is to form strong coalitions, for example with both formal and informal mentors, in order to increase the quality and quantity of mentoring. Also, key is embedding mentoring in everyday communities, in so-called communal systems, e.g., the school systems, workplaces, etc. For instance, mentoring organisations in the US have developed partnerships with Starbucks across the USA to promote mentoring and get youth basic work skills experience.
The idea is to address real societal problems.Joellen Spacek, Senior Mentoring Director, MENTOR
We need to work as closely as possible with school districts, municipal legislatures, and companies to promote ideas of mentoring and a mentoring “framework”. Recruiting, providing training and technical assistance need to be continuous to maintain the programmatic quality and a high number of young people and mentors in our programs.
Finally, organizational goals need to be aligned with the goals of the program (school motivation, increased self-esteem, job market know-how, etc.). There are meta studies, including youth-initiated mentoring, supportive accountability, embedded mentoring, and the e-mentoring model, offering evidence of effectiveness and even blueprints for designing programs.
There certainly is plenty of research showing the impact of mentoring, and there is an entire mentoring community testing and measuring different methods. At Mentor International need to be good at what we choose to do and ensure that youth get the skills (both soft and hard) to be able to care for themselves and others in the future.