Your Neighbors are Your Friends

by Ingrid Peters, Manager of Mentor Recruitment Campaigns

Yesterday I attended a meeting for the Lawrence Mentoring Consortium (LMC), a five-member collaboration of non-profits providing youth mentoring programs to the Greater Lawrence Area. MMP is a member of the group, and the other five non-profits run eight different mentoring programs. Their goal is simple: to promote mentoring in Lawrence and make more quality mentoring matches for the hundreds of local young people currently on waiting lists.

LMC started because each of the Lawrence programs realized that although their respective program was not always a fit for every volunteer or company that was interested in working with them, there was another Lawrence program that was.

The LMC is thinking about their community and how to match children, and their solution is to raise awareness and recruit as a team. In just a year, the LMC has hosted an event with over 200 attendees, hung a mentoring banner in a well-traveled area of Lawrence, received media coverage in the Eagle Tribune, and much more.

Their ability to provide diverse mentoring options and talk about the 1,000 youth they collectively serve has opened doors with businesses interested in getting employees involved in the Lawrence community. And now they are meeting regularly to talk about how to leverage this group and really make people in Lawrence talk about mentoring.
Their group fits a trend I’ve noticed, and it’s a good one: mentoring programs are really working to create lasting partnerships and collaborate with other mentoring programs in their community. It’s a successful trend.

During National Mentoring Month, Brockton mentoring programs gathered over 250 people at their second-annual mentor recruitment rally. Over 75 mentor referrals were collected within hours. That’s a huge number, and a result of their collective efforts, networks, and a commitment to working together. South Coast mentoring programs (SMILES, Big Friends Little Friends, and Big Brothers Big Sisters) banded together to replicate the event during National Mentoring Month this year.

These are just a few of the fantastic collaborations that are happening in the mentoring field right now. I’m sure there are many more, some of which may have been happening for awhile. The energy around creating and leveraging these collaborations is growing, and it’s exciting. It’s encouraging to see that by working together, mentoring programs are finding ways to help each other be successful, and work towards what they all have in common - getting more young people in their community connected to caring adult mentors.