Annual Mentoring Partnership Network Conference Explores Role of Mentoring in Bridging Communities

Molly Brenner, Manager, Mentoring Partnership Network
June 19th, 2015
Posted In: Events

June 2015

Each year, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) and our nationwide network of affiliate Mentoring Partnerships gather for a three-day professional development and networking conference hosted in a different location annually by one of our affiliates. Our collective goals are to engage in discussion, presentations and hands-on learning to build and strengthen the youth mentoring movement and enhance the resources and tools we make available to the mentoring field, such as the National Mentoring Resource CenterThe Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ and the National Quality Mentoring System. This year, in June, we met in Baltimore, Maryland, and representatives from all 27 Mentoring Partnership locations were present for the event, which was graciously hosted by our affiliate, the Maryland Mentoring Resource Center.

In light of recent events in Baltimore, our planned presence in the city became more meaningful, framed by the overwhelming community response and focus on youth mentoring that occurred after the unrest and protests in response to the death of Freddie Gray. As a way to engage in a dialogue about the role of mentoring in connecting communities, MENTOR hosted a panel discussion that included Baltimore community leaders Colonel Melvin Russell of the City of Baltimore Police Department, Brandon M. Scott, City Councilman for Baltimore’s 2nd District, and Edward “Ted” Sutton, Founder of Sutton House, Inc., a youth and community development organization. They each shared how mentoring impacted their lives, with positive adult relationships helping them to face down the challenges of negative influences and ultimately focus on their respective roles in strengthening their communities.  Through their personal experiences growing up and in being mentors to young people today, all three men expressed the importance of these critical relationships, particularly in times of community unrest, in bridging divides and giving young people a support system to make positive choices. They each underscored the idea that youth success depends on community support and infrastructure, and how mentors should be a cornerstone of any plan to improve outcomes for young people. To ensure all youth and particularly young men and boys of color stay connected to school and work and have equitable access to opportunity, mentoring must play a prominent role.

We thank all who were able to take part in these incredible three-days of professional development and networking that will ultimately increase our effectiveness and reach within the field, meaning more young people will experience the benefit of having a caring adult and communities will be strengthened.

Learn more about our affiliate network of Mentoring Partnerships and the resources and services they provide to local mentoring programs.

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