Advocacy

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. 

YOUTH MENTORING DAY 2020  

Thank you to all who attended Youth Mentoring Day 2020! It was powerful to be in the presence of more than 300 program and youth leaders representing 105 organizations and institutions from across the state. We are grateful to Speaker Robert DeLeo and First Lady Lauren Baker for celebrating the power of mentoring with us, along with our legislative champions Representative Aaron Vega and Senator Brendan Crighton. This year’s theme, Power of Collective Impact, was put into practice as youth mentoring advocates participated in over 90 legislative meetings. In addition to advocating for the Mentoring Matching Grants Line Item, we also voiced our support for several bills that will enhance the lives of young people in Massachusetts.

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State-Level

Budget Advocacy

why issue.gifOn Wednesday, January 22, Governor Baker released his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2021, level funding the Mentoring Matching Grant (MMG) line item at $1,000,000. 

Since then, the Massachusetts Legislature has prioritized efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and those citizens who are vulnerable. You may be seeing new bills and the swift passage of laws as legislators grapple with the ramifications of the virus on our state economy, healthcare, employment, housing and social welfare.

The Secretary of Administration and Finance, the Treasurer's office, and Ways and Means leadership re-convened for another revenue hearing, to better understand the financial implications of the virus on the state's revenue and the budget timeline. This also means the budget will be redrafted from scratch. 

To continue to support the Mentoring Matching Grants line item, we are encouraging the field to connect with legislators virtually so that we can ensure mentoring relationships can endure despite this public health crisis. We are also collecting match support stories and testimony that MMP can share with the legislature. Please share stories and testimony with Chelsea.

With your support, we will continue to lift up the positive benefits of relationships, and make sure that every young person can be matched with a caring adult here in Massachusetts. 

How This Funding Impacts Our Communities 

The $1,000,000 increase in FY20 positioned us well to reinvest in our current cohort of mentoring programs statewide. This 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 continue to fund a dropout prevention pilot program in Boston, Lawrence and Springfield Public Schools, placing social-emotional supports by way of Success Mentors in schools to improve attendance for chronically absent students. 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

Learn More:

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List of Programs Funded Statewide in FY20
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 programs receiving funding for FY2020 in our catalog!

Download this catalog!

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

 

 

 

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Legislative Advocacy

MMP works not only to advance legislation that directly impacts mentoring programs, but we also actively advocate for bills that promote positive youth outcomes. MMP drafts testimony and marshals support in our network for legislation that advances developmental relationships to support youth, including legislation to expand mentoring programs to decrease high school dropouts and combat chronic absense, offer mentoring opportunities to proven-risk youth in foster care, expand access to After and Out of School Programs, promote juvenile justice reform efforts that focus on positive-youth development, and offer community on-the-job training for youths. 

2020 Legislative Priorities

MMP’s Priority Bills and Budget Items 

Mentoring-related Legislation- MMP’s signature policy priorities from the previous priorities from the previous season and new legislation that has been identified to expand on mentoring services statewide.

7061-9634    Increase the investment of the Mentoring Matching Grants line item  to $1,200,000 in FY21. 

Sponsors:     Sen. Brendan Crighton (Lynn) and Rep. Aaron Vega (Holyoke) 

  • Requesting a 200K increase enabling us to fund additional mentoring programs. Would yield an additional $1,200,000 in a private dollar-for-dollar match. 

H.550;S.241    An Act Relative to Dropout Prevention and Re-engagement 

Sponsors:     Sen. Sonia Chang Diaz (Boston); Rep. Alice Peisch (House Chair of Education)

  • Success coaches as a development relationship for chronically absent students in middle and high school. Schools with high dropout rates to utilize these interventions.

MMP Endorsed Bills

Legislation including field-mobilizing - Bills tied to our work on the school-to-prison pipeline that MMP has been asked to support by legislators. Will promote through Voter Voice and garner support from school-based mentoring programs in our network. 

 

H.531; S.297 An Act to Promote the Education Success of Court Involved Children 

Sponsors:     Rep. Joan Meschino (Hull) and Sen. Pat Jehlen (Somerville) 

  • Clarify disciplinary standards to reflect the recommendations of DESE to reduce school suspensions and expulsions. School discipline can no longer be enforced for behavior or criminal complaints outside of school, involuntary assault and for marijuana possession. 

S.825; H.340   An Act to Promote Public Safety and Better Outcomes for Young Adults

Sponsors:      Sen. Joe Boncore (Boston) Rep. James O'Day (W. Boylston) and Rep. Kay Khan

  • Restructure the juvenile justice system to include 18 to 20-year olds to ensure access to treatment, education, and vocational training found more effective for this age group with a focus on mentoring and positive outcomes.

MMP Supported Bills

Bills that support mentoring and positive youth outcomes. Will include supporting testimony and MMP's endorsement. Include support through coalition involvement.

 

S. 260         An Act Relative to access for After School and Out of School time Programs 

Sponsor:     Sen. Brendan Crighton (Lynn; our Senate budget champion) 

  • Establishes an After School and Out of School Time Opportunity Fund with 3 % of recreational marijuana sales revenue collected being dedicated to this fund. 

Massachusetts Legislature’s Response to COVID-19

MMP has been actively tracking COVID-related legislation in the Massachusetts House and Senate that can help alleviate the burdens faced by youth, their families, our network of programs, and communities across the state during this crisis. We have created a list of bills we are tracking that relates to financial stability, housing, education equity, and support for nonprofits. To learn more, please visit our resources page.

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 Senior Manager of Government Relations and Public Policy, Chelsea Aquino, at caquino@massmentors.org.

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Advocacy Resources

General Resources

Get Involved

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: 

  1. Advocate: stay up-to-date on our advocacy efforts relating to dropout prevention. Contact your legislators and get MMP Advocacy updates.
  2. Share Your Story: In what ways are you using mentoring as a lever? Do you have success stories?  Email us.
  3. Attend a Training: If you are interested in advocacy training for your organization/program, fill out this quick training request form

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Federal-Level

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.

To advocate in support of MENTOR, visit this link.