In celebration of National Mentoring Month, Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP) and the Highland Street Americorps Ambassadors of Mentoring hosted the 11th annual Youth Mentoring Day at the State House on January 18th. Youth Mentoring Day raises awareness about the overall impact of mentoring relationships across the state and is an important opportunity to advance our budget and policy priorities for the year. It’s also a venue to recognize the mentors, program staff and policy makers who have significantly impacted the mentoring field.
The theme, Building Futures Through Relationships, focused on the important role relationships play in helping young people build resiliency and achieve their goals. We gathered with youth-serving organizations, mentors, mentees, and legislators to address the need for more youth-adult relationships and the impact they can have in communities across the Commonwealth.
At the core of MMP’s legislative agenda and advocacy work is what drives our organization’s overall mission- the understanding that too many young people lack crucial developmental relationships in their lives that help them reach their full potential. Our priority has continued to involve mobilizing key stakeholders to advocate for underserved communities, create public awareness, and direct resources to the mentoring field. We are fortunate to have Champions in the House and Senate who work tirelessly to ensure that the Mentoring Matching Grants line item remains a priority to the legislature.
In his inspiring story, Representative Evandro C. Carvalho, reminded us that most of us, including himself, wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the support of mentors in every stage of life.
"I'm here as an example of someone who continues to benefit from mentoring." - Representative Carvalho
Relationships in Action
In addition to serving formal youth mentoring programs, at MMP, we have expanded our scope to support a wider field of youth-serving organizations to increase opportunities for impactful relationship formation to greater numbers of youth. Access to developmental relationships give young people support and guidance, help connect them to a web of adults and opens up possibilities and opportunities for their futures. Whether it’s helping them get ready for a career, to succeed academically, to overcome trauma, or just be there for them when they need someone to talk to, these relationships can be the difference between unrealized potential and a bright future. We heard from young people of diverse programs on their thoughts and stories about the critical role relationships with positive role models have played in helping build their futures.
"[Having a mentor] opened me up as a kid." - Rose of Strong Women, Strong Girls
From left to right: David of Future Chefs; Rose of Strong Women, Strong Girls; Emma of ArtWorks,
The Cape & Islands Workforce Investment Board; Beth Fraster, VP & Chief Program Officer, MMP
Senator Linda Dorcena Forry's message centered on the need for developmental relationships for all youth, and the critical need for funding for the programs who provide them. The call to action? Fund the mentoring line item at the requested $750,000 in the House and the Senate.
"Policies have to be done with young people in mind." - Senator Forry
Senator Forry giving a call to action to attendees.
However, it is not enough to simply state the need. Attendees participated in over 50 scheduled visits with their representatives in both the House and Senate. As National Mentoring Month is now behind us, here’s what you can do today, tomorrow, and for the next few months:
Call or email your representative in the House and ask them to encourage the House Ways and Means to fund the Mentoring Matching Grants line item (7061-9634) with an increase from Governor Baker's proposed $500,000.
To learn more about how to get involved, contact MMP's Manager of Government Relations and Public Policy, Chelsea Aquino, or visit our advocacy page for more resources.
We trended on Twitter! Check out who tweeted that day:
Photos by Romana Vysatova Photography