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 ADVOCACY DAY 2021
MMP hosted our first ever virtual Youth Advocacy Day, where State Senator Julian Cyr served as our keynote speaker. The theme was For Youth By Youth: Policy, Power, Peace, and Positivity through Mentoring and Advocacy. Thank you to all who attended! It was powerful to be in the presence of youth leaders who talked passionately about advocacy and engaging in the political process.
Youth Advocacy Day 2021 - Click Here
MMP YOUTH LEADERSHIP COUNCIL
The Youth Leadership Council was created with the hopes of bringing more youth voices together and enabling them with the skill, knowledge, and opportunity to advocate not only for mentoring resources but critical policy-based initiatives that affect their schools and greater communities.
MMP recently wrapped up our third cohort, after working with 12 YLC members from across Massachusetts over several weeks to teach them fundamental skills in advocacy, grassroots and community organizing, and public awareness. The YLC members were essential in planning our successful Youth Advocacy Day, connecting their peers with members of the legislation to support mentoring and youth mental health.
In recognition of the critical role mentoring relationships play in the lives of young people, the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee released their FY22 state budget and it includes $1.2 million for the Mentoring Matching Grant (MMG) program. This represents an increase of $200,000 over last year's budget. We would like to thank the Massachusetts House of Representatives and our Legislative Champion Rep. Patricia Duffy of Holyoke for their investment in mentoring which will enable us to expand and strengthen consistent, enduring and supportive youth-adult relationships across the state.
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.
This year, we are asking for $1.2 million for this line item, which will allow for increased funding and the expansion of mentoring programs statewide, and to fund new programs who are all addressing the needs of their communities during this difficult time.
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
Maintaining $1,000,000 in funding FY21 positioned us well to reinvest in our current cohort of mentoring programs that stepped in as a critical support for youth during the pandemic. This also allowed for the continued investment of grantee programs in our targeted communities, including: Lynn, Lawrence, Springfield, Holyoke, Boston and Cape Cod and the Islands. Lastly, this 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.
- How does the budget process even work? Watch this animated video!
- Download this graphic for social media
- FY22 Budget Request Fact Sheet
- Read our Mentor Matching Grants FY21 Report
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. Due to COVID-19, and the financial and logistical challenges faced by youth development programs, Mass Mentoring Partnership renewed our commitment to our grantee cohort and extended their grant cycle into FY21, maintaining their funding levels after we secured $1 million in the final FY21 budget.
For more information or questions, please contact Chelsea Aquino, Senior Manager of Government Relations and Public Policy, at email@example.com.
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 absence, 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.
ADVOCACY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
MMP recently launched an Advocacy Advisory Committee to support in planning for the new legislative session that began in January 2021. With a new session comes new opportunities to file bills and support others that can bring resources to the field and expand on programs that best support positive youth outcomes.
The primary goal of the MMP Advocacy Advisory Committee is supporting the mission, vision, and strategic planning goals of MMP as it relates to government relations and embedding mentoring relationships in public policy in Massachusetts.
While we are still filling positions for the committee, we are beginning with a core group of leaders from youth serving organizations and formal structured mentoring programs from different parts of the state and who serve different populations of youth. If you are interested in joining this group, please email Chelsea.
2021-2022 Legislative Priorities
MMP's policy agenda is currently in formation. Our goal is to support bills that have an equity lens and fall under themes related to:
Relationships as a tool for positive youth development
Relationships as a tool to combat structural racism
Embedding relationships within state systems such as the juvenile justice system, education system, and foster care system
Relationships to break down systemic barriers
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.
- Introduction to advocacy and Massachusetts state government
- Communicating with public officials
- Tips for meeting with legislators
- Advocating for the Mentoring Field
- Contact Your Legislator
As MMP thinks about policy solutions to address these issues for the 192nd 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 for positive change? 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.
To advocate in support of MENTOR, visit this link.