As part of a continued effort to ensure that all young people have the opportunities they need to reach their full potential, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) recently traveled to Washington, DC to participate in White House efforts designed to support President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, including the launch of new ad campaigns promoting student success and encouraging additional support from the private and nonprofit sectors, and the development of new and existing resources to battle chronic absenteeism.
In coordination with officials from the White House and the U.S. Department of Education, including Senior Advisor to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Assistant to the President, Cabinet Secretary, and Chair of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, Broderick Johnson and Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of Cabinet Affairs for My Brother’s Keeper, Michael Smith, NBA Deputy Commissioner and COO Mark Tatum and MENTOR CEO David Shapiro co-presented MENTOR’s new In Real Life campaign to private sector supporters of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, and spoke to the importance of mentoring as a way to connect every young person to the kind of meaningful relationships that provide critical networks of support and opportunity.
The In Real Life campaign was launched in response to President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative and the call-to-action to deliver on the promise of opportunity for all of our young people. Mentoring is a centerpiece of the initiative because of the proven impact on positive outcomes.
Wanting to make an impact on the lives of boys and young men in communities of the highest need, the NBA joined MENTOR to develop In Real Life. It’s the first initiative the league has launched with the support of the entire NBA family – the league, the players’ association, and the retired players’ association – a reflection of the universal connection to mentoring felt around the league.
“No single factor is more important in the life of a child than the love and support of caring, committed adults. The In Real Life campaign works to build a grassroots movement of those who believe that an asset as critical as mentoring cannot be left to chance,” Shapiro said.
As part of a similar effort to promote academic success and increased learning, officials from the White House and the U.S. Department of Education, including incoming acting U.S. Secretary of Education, Dr. John King and Special Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Education, Leslie Cornfeld hosted a discussion about the development and implementation of new and existing resources to battle chronic absenteeism.
The discussion centered on research and evidence-based approaches that have been shown to work in combating chronic absenteeism, and the critical role of a successful model originally implemented by New York City’s Success Mentors initiative in addressing the issue.
Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) CEO, Wendy Spencer, Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University Director, Robert Balfanz and leaders from 10 cities and districts participated in the discussion.