Advocacy

Advocacy.jpgMentoring and youth development programs’ voices are vital in helping Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP)  raise awareness about the role that empowering youth-adult relationships play in addressing systemic social problems and garner support at the local, state and federal levels of government. By familiarizing yourself with the steps of the state budget process, learning about policies and initiatives related to mentoring, and building relationships with your community’s legislators and other public officials, you can play a critical role in ensuring that the needs of the field are heard – and met. 

 

 

State

Budget Advocacy

Mentoring Matching Grants Line Item Funded at $750,000 in FY19 Budget! 

The Mentoring Matching Grants line item has been FULLY FUNDED and will be included in the final state budget at $750,000! Due to tireless outreach and collective efforts, we are now able to see the largest increase in funding for the line item since FY2002. Though this process was long and at times arduous, we accomplished so much together to garner support and innovate the line item for FY19. The results of this increase will be deep and widespread, reaching every community from Boston to Pittsfield! Please take a moment to thank Senator Crighton, Representative Vega, and the House and Senate members who helped us to see the increase this year! 

Since Youth Mentoring Day, we have... 

  • Launched Voter Voice campaigns resulting in nearly 400 messages to legislators from January through May.
  • Saw the line item fully-funded in the House budget, avoiding an amendment for the first time since FY08
  • Partnered with two new legislative Champions: Representative Aaron Vega of Holyoke and Senator Brendan Crighton of Lynn
  • Secured bipartisan support for Amendment #160 to increase funding for the Mentoring Matching Grants with 18 senators co-sponsoring, nearly half of the Senate body!
  • Saw the Mentoring Matching Grants debated on the Senate floor and passed unanimously!

How This Impacts Our Communities 

The $250,000 increase from last year's funding positions us well to reinvest in our current cohort of mentoring programs statewide. This will also allow for the investment of new grantee programs not currently supported through the line item, resulting in an increased number of mentoring matches in our targeted communities, including: Lynn, Lawrence, Springfield, Holyoke, Boston and Cape Cod. Lastly, this increase will also enable MMP to create a dropout prevention pilot program, placing social-emotional supports by way of graduation coaches in schools with high levels of chronic absenteeism and dropout rates. This proven method of bringing developmental relationships in schools improves both school climate and student connectedness to their education, resulting in positive outcomes in school, in their communities, and in life. For a formal announcement, read our latest press release here

Stay tuned for updates here and share the news with your networks on social media 

Learn More:

For more information or questions, please contact Chelsea AquinoManager of Government Relations and Public Policy, at caquino@massmentors.org

ProgramsFunded Statewide in FY18

African Community Education, Worcester - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MA, Worcester - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County, Greenfield - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Lowell (Community Teamwork), Lowell - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County, Springfield - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County (CHD), Amherst - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mass Bay, Boston - Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke, Holyoke - Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Boston - Big Friends Little Friends, Fall River - Big Friends Little Friends, Merrimack Valley - Big Sister Association, - Greater Boston - Boston Partners in Education, Boston - Brockton Christian Mentoring Initiative, Brockton - EVkids, Inc., Boston - Falmouth Volunteers in Public Schools, Falmouth - Generations Inc. Boston - Girls Inc., Lynn - Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters, Greater Boston - LUK, Fitchburg and Worcester - Mazie Memorial Foundation Mentoring Program, Waltham - Melrose CARES, Melrose - Old Colony YMCA, Brockton - Partners for Youth with Disabilities, Greater Boston - Railroad Street Youth Project, Great Barrington - RAW Art Works, Lynn - Silver Lining Mentoring, Greater Boston - SMILES, Fall River and New Bedford - Springfield School Volunteers, Springfield Associates for Human Services, Taunton - South Boston Team, South Boston

 

Legislative Advocacy

An Act Relative to Dropout Prevention and Recovery[Original size] Poster – Untitled Design.png

Nearly 1 out of 8 students in Massachusetts will not graduate on time.

At MMP, we are working to elevate policy around the evidenced need for greater social-emotional support (SES) in schools as a remedy to high dropout rates. We see graduation coaches as the solution to this prevalent issue, as a constant presence within the school building that can mentor at-risk youth and provide wraparound supports. During the course of the last year, MMP has collected peer to peer data from high school students in the Boston Public School System to support this advocacy effort and public awareness campaign in two ways: through a survey and holding focus groups.

We understand the significant positive impacts of mentoring on two early indicators of high school drop-out, these being high levels of absenteeism and recurring behavior problems in school. Graduation coaches add an additional layer of social and emotional support that is integral to the wellbeing of students across our state. For example, in the U.S. only 56 percent of students who have dropped out report that there was a school staff person they could go to about school problems. Youth in developmental relationships are less likely to skip school, present better attitudes and behaviors at school, and are more likely to attend college than their peers.

 Click here to contact your legislator now! 

Learn More: 

Join the conversation using #StudentsNeedSES

Why are Social Emotional Supports (SES) important in schools? 

 

​Allocating Recreational Marijuana Revenue to Youth Development

Mentoring agencies and youth development organizations across Massachusetts are improving the lives of vulnerable youth by providing access to empowering youth-adult relationships and the kind of wrap-around supports youth need to stay in school, make responsible choices around risk-taking behavior, and to succeed in all facets of their lives. Research has proven that at-risk youth who are matched with a mentor for more than a year are less likely to become involved in substance and alcohol abuse, less likely to be truant, less likely to commit violent acts, and are more likely to show improved academic performance and improved attitudes toward school.

Mass Mentoring Partnership fights to maintain the funding that enables mentoring programs to succeed, build capacity, and serve more youth. As a result of revenue shortfalls and an unstable national economy over the years, the Mentoring Matching Grants line item has been cut in half from when it was established in 2000, while the need for mentoring relationships has grown, substantially, particularly in cities and in low-income communities of color. MMP is also working to embed developmental relationships in schools as a means to address dropout prevention and recovery. Currently, there are very few systemic approaches to dropout prevention that has been approved by the legislature, likely stemming from the lack of funding tied to dropout bills in both the Massachusetts House and Senate.

For this reason, we have petitioned the members of the Committee on Marijuana Policy to dedicate a portion of the tax collected from recreational marijuana sales to help build the capacity of mentoring programs statewide. With the state’s budget seeing a massive revenue shortfall in both FY18 and FY17, the Mentoring Matching Grant, which is the only dedicated state funding to mentoring, has failed to see an increase in three years, and was cut in half from when it was established in 2000 at $1,000,000. This stagnant growth has proved challenging in providing the resources necessary to support all of the programs who serve the critical needs of youth across our state. An alternative revenue stream dedicated specifically to supporting developmental relationships for our young people and mentoring would have a lasting and positive impact on our Commonwealth!

To learn more about this issue and how other states allocate portions of their revenue to youth, check out this blog post

For any additional questions, contact MMP’s Manager of Government Relations and Public Policy, Chelsea Aquino, at caquino@massmentors.org.

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National

Massachusetts Mentoring Agenda

In an effort to both educate the Massachusetts congressional delegation on the national priorities of the youth mentoring field in Massachusetts and rally their support, Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP) drafted the Massachusetts Mentoring Agenda. The Massachusetts Mentoring Agenda, which was adapted from the national legislative priorities established by MENTOR, urges each member of the delegation to:

  • Advocate for policies and funding approaches that expand quality mentoring in Massachusetts
  • Support funding for juvenile mentoring grants in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at the $100 million level
  • Co-sponsor the Child Protection Improvements Act
  • Support the inclusion of mentoring in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
  • Become a champion for youth mentoring by joining the House Mentoring Caucus, and supporting commemorations of National Mentoring Month each January

Child Protection Improvements Act

The Child Protection Improvements Act (CPIA) has passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee and now faces the Senate Floor action. Visit the MENTOR website for more information.