Kristan Allen, Director of Marketing and Communications, Mentoring Pittsburgh
March 27th, 2018
Posted In: Campaigns
The Mentoring Partnership of SW PA (TMP) hosts monthly LENS meetings to give our network of programs the opportunity to Learn, Engage, Network and Share with one another. We co-hosted this month’s LENS meeting with our community partner Remake Learning – a Pittsburgh-based collaborative that ignites engaging, relevant and equitable learning practices in support of young people navigating rapid social and technological change.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, we convened mentoring programs focused on serving girls and young women in a variety of different ways – STEM, career, sports, tutoring, etc. Through our “Bring, Brag, Borrow” meeting style, participants worked in small groups to learn from each other, share examples of things that are working for them and borrow ideas from one another to inform their own work.
While the focus was on girls’ programming, the key learnings stemming from the meeting were applicable to organizations serving all young people. It was especially interesting to hear everyone’s takes on the important role MENTOR and its Affiliates play in their work. Take a look below for some of these key learnings, which have implications for everyone working in the mentoring field!
Learning Challenges Aren’t Limited to the Classroom
Learning challenges and disabilities – like autism and dyslexia – affect kids in different ways. It’s important to understand that these types of challenges can have an impact felt far beyond the classroom. So even if your program isn’t school-based, you should consider the social and emotional implications a learning challenge might have on the young people you serve.
Be a Connector
As a mentoring program, it can be easy to focus solely on your programming and how it impacts those you serve. But it’s important to be a connector and facilitate opportunities for young people to connect outside of your organization. For example, if a child is aging out of your program, look for connections to help them transition to another program that serves their age group or interests. This creates continuity in a young person’s mentoring support system, which will ultimately help to open more doors toward a successful future.
Educate to Maximize Impact
In developing program activities and initiatives, it’s important to include a plan for educating all stakeholders about your work – community members, parents/families, school administrators, etc. Take stock of all the groups of people – internal and external – that are involved in or are impacted by your organization. From there, create a plan to educate each of these groups on key initiatives and activities you’re doing. The more in tune an audience feels with your work, the more likely they are to support it.
Be Intentional About Collaborating
As youth-serving organizations, we’re all on the same team. Let’s help each other! It’s important to look for opportunities to collaborate and lift each other up so that we can reach more kids. Not sure where to start? MENTOR and its Mentoring Partnership Affiliate Network are great resources that can help to connect mentoring programs with other organizations that are doing similar work in communities across the country. Collaborating and supporting one another will pave the way for more kids getting matched with more mentors. It’s a win-win!
For more information about TMP’s LENS meetings, contact Michelle Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.