Mentoring Summit 2017: Fellows in the Spotlight

Julie Babyatzky, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership
December 19th, 2016
Posted In: Events, National Mentoring Summit, Recognition

As the only national convening of youth mentoring practitioners, researchers, philanthropic partners and leaders, the National Mentoring Summit provides attendees with an opportunity to engage in skill building, peer learning, advocacy and networking. Every year since the Summit’s founding, MENTOR has received requests from mentoring practitioners who want to attend and learn to improve their program quality, deepen their impact and scale their efforts but who, given their organization’s limited budget, require financial assistance.

In response to these requests and with the generous support of AT&T, State Street Corporation, and an anonymous donor, MENTOR launched the Summit Fellowship Program to provide a select number of scholarships to leaders from mentoring programs operating with a budget of $150,000 or less. As many in the mentoring field know, this type of work requires unyielding passion and a selfless commitment to others, but unfortunately, on far too many occasions due to financial constraints, does not provide access to professional development opportunities. To address this challenge, we are thrilled to be able to offer nine Fellows the opportunity to attend the 2017 National Mentoring Summit through the Summit Fellowship Program.

Our inaugural cohort of Fellows was selected based on their leadership-potential and experience, eagerness to build their professional skills and networks, demonstrated financial need, and personal commitment to helping young people succeed. The Fellows represent a diverse group of dedicated practitioners whose mentoring programs are committed to quality and continuously innovating to make a greater impact on young people in their communities. Read about them below, and, if you are attending the Summit, make sure to say hello!

2017 Summit Fellows

mark-billingsMark Billings
Program and Communications Coordinator, Best Friends Mentoring Program
Dickinson, ND
A graduate of Wheaton College (Illinois) and the University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana, Mark has worked in the non-profit sector for the past 15 years. After witnessing first-hand the value of mentoring while hosting exchange students, he devoted his career to establishing and building quality youth mentoring in rural North Dakota. Married with three teenagers, Mark has completed 25 marathons in 7 states.

heather-cookHeather Cook
Detention Coordinator,
Reading for Life
South Bend, IN
After graduating from Indiana University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Heather began working as the Detention Coordinator at the St. Joseph County Juvenile Justice Center, using the Reading for Life curriculum to mentor groups of incarcerated teens. The positive impact this program has made on so many children has truly given her purpose. When Heather is not working, she can be found spending time with her 3 little girls.

Debbie Ellerdebbie-eller
Executive Director,
Communities in Schools of Caldwell County
Lenoir, NC
As a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Appalachian State University who holds a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University, Debbie works as the Executive Director with Communities in Schools of Caldwell County, NC while also serving as Vice President of the Career Development Division at the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce and on the Board of the Shelter Home. She worked as a volunteer in the Girl Scouts organization for over 25 years and has received many adult leadership awards in scouting.

maryellen-gomesMaryellen Gomes
Mentor Coordinator, Cobb Mentoring Matters
Marietta, GA
With a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Georgia State University, Maryellen works as the Mentor Coordinator for the Cobb County School district where she oversees the district’s flagship school-based mentoring program she created called Cobb Mentoring Matters. Since inception, the program has created a turn-key program for businesses, churches and civic organizations to play an important role in the educational process for the students in Cobb County. Maryellen enjoys spending time with her family and friends and bike riding.

amber-greenAmber D. Green
Youth and Alumni Manager,
Trinity River Mission
Dallas, TX
Having received a B.A. in psychology from Lake Forest College (Lake Forest, IL) and a Master’s of Social Work Degree from the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, Amber now works for Trinity River Mission—an educational nonprofit in West Dallas serving at-risk K-12 students and their families. Amber manages the Believe and Achieve Scholarship and Mentoring Program for middle school and high school students, promoting college-going culture by providing students with life, college, and career readiness skills, as well as mentors to support their journey to educational, professional, and personal success.

dustin-koury-1-1Dustin Koury
Teen Pals Program Coordinator,
Brown County Human Services Department
Green Bay, WI
Dustin is a youth advocate specializing in services for teens with direct experience in mentoring, child welfare, foster care, and Independent Living Services. He is currently the Program Coordinator of the Teen Pals program, a mentoring service of the Brown County Human Services Department in Green Bay, WI designed to serve youth ages 13-18 by pairing them with a caring volunteer who can work with the youth to build confidence, life skills, independence, and lifelong connections. Pals is an example of what can be accomplished through collaboration between youth, adults, and the surrounding community.

mariam-martinezMariam Martinez
Program Director, Institute of Youth Development and Excellence
Cincinnati, OH
A graduate of Mt. Saint Joseph College with a degree in Humanities and Liberal Arts, Mariam was born in Mexico, learned English in high school, and has worked in various aspects of youth development. She’s worked in schools as a language teacher, supported bilingual literacy programs, and worked with families as a Home Visitor for Every Child Succeeds. She currently works as Program Director at the Institute of Youth Development and Excellence where she manages volunteer development and develops programs for young children.

kelvin-mattairKelvin Mattair
Project Director, JBU Mentoring Program, Unity Family Community Center, Inc.
Williston, FL
After 11 years serving at-risk youth in the state of Florida, Kelvin moved to Australia in 2013 where he worked with indigenous youth and learned a new perspective for mentoring young people. In 2015, he returned to the United States and began his new career with Unity Family Community Center, Inc. For the past year, Kelvin has worked hard to create UFCC’s new mentoring program, JBU Mentors, which aims to reduce delinquency, enhance exposure, and increase academic performance through one-on-one or group mentoring.

jamila-trimuelJamila M. Trimuel
Founder and Executive Director, Ladies of Virtue
Chicago, IL
With a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, a Master’s of Science in Health Systems Management from Rush University, a Master’s of Science in Educational Leadership from the Broad Center, Jamila is the Founder of Ladies of Virtue (LOV). LOV is a Gold Star Mentoring Program, recognized by the Illinois Mentoring Partnership, and instills purpose, passion, and perseverance in girls, ages 9-18, while preparing them for college, career, and to become change agents in their communities.


  • Ron Green says:

    Looks like a great mentoring organization! How can my organizations help?

    • MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership says:

      Hello Ron:

      Thank you for reaching out to MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and for your interest in youth mentoring. MENTOR is the unifying champion of youth mentoring in the US. We aim to increase the quantity and quality of mentoring relationships through advocacy, public awareness, and the development and delivery of resources, standards, and research. There are many ways in which you can connect to MENTOR and utilize our resources to expand your knowledge of and engagement with the youth mentoring movement:

      • Contact your local Mentoring Partnership: MENTOR works collaboratively with a network of Mentoring Partnerships that support the local mentoring field in their state or region through four core functions: mentoring program capacity building, stakeholder engagement, data collection, and public awareness and advocacy. View our list of Mentoring Partnerships and contact the one in your area for local mentoring resources and opportunities.

      • List your program in the Mentoring Connector. The Mentoring Connector is a free service and the only database of its kind designed to help quality youth mentoring programs across the US recruit volunteer mentors. Programs meeting baseline quality standards as outlined in the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ will be added to the publicly‐searchable referral database. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to recruit new mentors by adding your mentoring program to the new Mentoring Connector. Learn more and add your program listing.

      • Request technical assistance through the National Mentoring Resource Center: In 2013, the Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) selected MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership to develop the National Mentoring Resource Center. This clearinghouse of resources for mentoring practitioners includes the availability of no-cost technical assistance, provided in order to help mentoring programs receive customized support and implement quality practices. Learn more here.

      • Access MENTOR’s reports on mentoring – from needs statements to how-to’s to the impact of mentoring, including: The Mentoring Effect, a report commissioned by MENTOR that is the first-ever nationally representative survey of young people on the topic of both informal and formal mentoring; “Mentoring: at the crossroads of education, business and community,” a report released by EY and MENTOR that makes the business case for mentoring; and three issue briefs that highlight mentoring’s impact on violence prevention, education and workforce development.

      • Access free resources about evidence-based practices in mentoring: MENTOR’s Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™, 4th Edition outlines research-based practices for starting and operating an effective mentoring program. The Elements and accompanying Checklist and Toolkit are all available for free download on the MENTOR website, along with a resource library in which you can search by topic for specific research and publications related to mentoring.

      • Attend webinars in the Collaborative Mentoring Webinar Series: This free monthly webinar series highlights different topics and features prominent experts sharing their knowledge through informative dialogue. It is an excellent way to connect to mentoring practitioners and researchers across the country. You can view past webinars and register for upcoming webinars on the MENTOR website.

      Stay Connected via Email: Signing up for MENTOR emails is an excellent way to stay connected and engaged with the mentoring field! From mentoring news to local training opportunities and policy updates, be sure to sign up for all of our lists to stay in the loop on all things mentoring!

      • Connect on social media: Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn and like our page on Facebook to engage with the mentoring movement and receive real-time updates on news and current events related to mentoring.

      Visit the Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring: The Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring is a collaborative effort between MENTOR and the University of Massachusetts Boston and is a leading research hub for furthering evidence-based mentoring. The Chronicle is the Center’s online publication dedicated to facilitating dialogue between researchers and practitioners around emerging research.

      • Adopt MentorCore as your program’s database: MENTOR worked with CiviCore, a leading technology developer for nonprofits, to create a program management and evaluation platform geared specifically to meet the day-to-day needs of mentoring programs. MENTOR informed the development of this cost-effective platform with the evidence-based practices outlined in the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ to help build, operate, and track mentoring programs across the country. MentorCore is regularly updated in response to feedback from mentoring programs.

      Again, thank you for reaching out to MENTOR. Please contact us with any additional questions about our organization or how you can become involved in the youth mentoring movement!

  • This looks like a phenomenal opportunity. How do I apply to become a fellow?

    • MENTOR: The National Mentoring Parnership says:

      Hi Nikkia,

      Thank you for reaching out to MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and your interest in becoming a Summit Fellow. You can find more information about the Fellowship program and the application here.

      Thank you again for reaching out, and we wish you the best of luck!

  • Mrs Ike says:

    Is the fellowship solely for USA mentoring groups .
    I am based in london but run a mentoring program for a university in africa .
    Sometimes it is great to share ideas at an international level too.

    • MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership says:

      Hi Mrs. Ike,

      Thank you for reaching out to MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and your interest in becoming a Summit Fellow. Unfortunately at this time we can only offer Summit fellowships to applicants and organizations based in the US. We hope to extend fellowship opportunities in the future.

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