Mentoring 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.
Last month, we celebrated the release of the Massachusetts House Committee on Ways and Means budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2020 which fully funded the Mentoring Matching Grant (MMG) at our requested level of $1,000,000.
On Tuesday afternoon, the FY20 Senate Ways and Means released their budget and included the MMG line item (7061-9634) at only $750,000.
This is unfortunately a $250,000 cut from what we received and celebrated in the House budget last month. While we are disappointed about this news, we need your help to ensure that funding for mentoring is not cut in the state budget, and that we see an increase for this line item!
Contact your state senator to request they co-sponsor Amendment #184!
It's takes less than a minute with Voter Voice! Click Here!
Over the last 18 years, this state investment has supported over 10,000 mentor matches and achieved many positive outcomes for youth, such as improved attitude towards school and classroom behavior, increases in self confidence, self efficacy and positive attitude about the future.
Over the next several weeks we will need you to contact your Senate representatives to request $1 million in their budget requests to Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues to ensure that budget cuts will not impact the mentoring field. Your advocacy can help raise funding for youth across the Commonwealth. Last year, your efforts got us to $750,000...now we want to secure even more funding for young people.
To contact your legislators, click here.
How This Funding Impacts Our Communities
The $250,000 increase from FY19 positioned us well to reinvest in our current cohort of mentoring programs statewide. This will also allowed for the investment of new grantee programs not previously 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 and the Islands. Lastly, this increase enabled MMP to create a dropout prevention pilot program in Boston Public Schools, placing social-emotional supports by way of success coaches in schools to improve attendance. 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.
- How does the budget process even work? Watch this animated video!
- Download this graphic for social media
- FY20 Budget Request Fact Sheet
- MMP FY20 Memo to Governor Baker
37 Programs Funded Statewide in FY19
Funded programs are awarded through a competitive RFP process and community review administered by MMP. These programs also receive training, technical support, and mentor recruitment assistance from MMP. Meet the 37 Programs receiving funding for FY2019 in our catalog!
For more information or questions, please contact Chelsea Aquino, Manager of Government Relations and Public Policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Highlights from Youth Mentoring Day
On January 15th, we joined with nearly 300 youth-serving program staff, public officials and young people at our 13th annual Youth Mentoring Day at the State House! Thank you to all of you who were able to join us. It was a tremendous event and a great opportunity to raise our collective voices to support empowering youth-adult relationships!
Our Massachusetts legislative champions, Rep. Aaron Vega and Sen. Brendan Crighton, addressed the crowd on the need to continue advocating for state funding for mentoring. Last year, we worked together to secure $750,000 in the Mentoring Matching Grants line item. This year, we are asking for $1 million to build capacity at more programs across the state!
Our panel discussion focused on this year's theme, Relationships for Change. We heard from mentors and mentees about the many ways their lives and communities have been affected through these relationships.
Attendees had the chance to talk about their own change and get their pictures taken at our photo booth. There was also a table activity that included discussions on relationships.
Following the event, our energized audience fanned out across the State House to engage in nearly 90 meetings with their local legislators to advocate on behalf of more budget dollars for mentoring.
*MMP's full policy agenda to be released shortly*
MMP'S Priority Bills
H.550;S.241 - An Act Relative to Dropout Prevention and Re-Engagement
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 success 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 3 years, MMP has collected peer to peer data from high school students in the Boston, Holyoke and Lawrence schools to support this advocacy effort and public awareness campaign in two ways: through a survey and holding focus groups.
Nearly 1 out of 8 students in Massachusetts will not graduate on time.
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.
In Massachusetts, nearly 1 out of 7 students are chronically absent.
Chronic absence is the strongest indicator that a student is likely to drop out of school. What is chronic absenteeism? Students are considered chronically absent if they miss 2 days each month or 18 or more days per year. This includes excused, unexcused absences and suspensions. When students are absent, they miss out on opportunities to be identified for intervention and extra supports by staff, faculty, and other school administrators.
Learn more about chronic absenteeism by downloading our one-pager toolkit.
Relationships as a Tool for Change
While Massachusetts has long been considered a leader in education, it is clear there are gaps that need to be addressed in supporting low-income youth and youth of color. Moreover, we can do more as a state to ensure that all young people are provided with access to the developmental relationships proven to improve school climate and engagement. By piloting Success Mentors programs in Mass and advocating dropout prevention and recovery policy recommendations, we aim to connect students to mentors across the state.
Advocate for social emotional supports in schools and stay up to date on our advocacy efforts below:
- Op-Ed | "Youth-Serving Programs can be Life-Savers" - Boston City Councilor, Andrea J. Campbell
- Chronic Absenteeism Toolkit (One-Pager PDF)
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.
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. 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 email@example.com.
- Introduction to advocacy and Massachusetts state government
- Communicating with public officials
- Tips for meeting with legislators
- Advocating for the Mentoring Field
- Contact Your Legislator
- Mass Mentoring Partnership FY20 Advocacy Goals
As MMP thinks about policy solutions to address these issues for the 191st legislative session, I hope you will continue to engage with us and share your own stories and findings. Here are a few ways to get involved:
- Advocate: stay up-to-date on our advocacy efforts relating to dropout prevention. Contact your legislators and get MMP Advocacy updates.
- Share Your Story: In what ways are you using mentoring as a lever? Do you have success stories? Email us.
- Attend a Training: If you are interested in advocacy training for your organization/program, fill out this quick training request form.
Each January, MMP travels to Washington to support MENTOR in their national advocacy efforts, encouraging members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation to support mentoring in their national legislative priorities.
National Mentoring Priorities
- Support Investment in Quality Youth Mentoring by supporting $120 million for the Youth Mentoring Program grant at the Department of Justice in FY20.
- Support the Transition to Success Mentoring Act to establish a mentoring program for at-risk students transitioning from middle to high school.
- Support the Foster Youth Mentoring Act to establish support for mentoring programs that serve youth in the foster care system.
- Support the Mentoring to Succeed Act to establish a grant to assist school districts, local governments, and community-based organizations to expand quality mentoring programs for at-risk students.
- Join the Congressional Youth Mentoring Caucus to support the important work that youth mentoring programs across the nation lead every day.