To ensure physical distancing does not mean social disconnection, MENTOR and iCouldBe have launched the Virtual Mentoring Portal – a safe and monitored mentoring platform for mentors and mentees to continue their relationships while they may be separated due to COVID-19.

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FAQs about COVID-19 and MENTOR

Yes, MENTOR National’s team is currently working virtually through at least May 4. We are available via email, phone, and video conferencing.

No.  MENTOR National will not explicitly instruct Affiliates or mentoring programs on how to proceed with in-person meetings at this time. The response to COVID-19 is being handled differently on the state and community levels, and we feel that it’s important for each Affiliate and/or program to address their community in the way that’s right for them.

MENTOR is continually working to share resources and tips that can help facilitate mentoring relationships on a virtual level. To ensure physical distancing does not mean social disconnection, MENTOR is working with leading expert on virtual mentoring, iCouldBe, to launch the Virtual Mentoring Portal. The Virtual Mentoring Portal is a safe and monitored mentoring platform for mentors and mentees to continue their relationships while they may be separated due to COVID-19.

The Virtual Mentoring Portal provides unstructured (internal, monitored email) or structured (research-back curriculum) communications and will provide mentoring programs with virtual mentoring access for existing mentees ages 13 or older, and their mentors. The platform has been constructed with respect to best practices, safety, and data privacy. Interested programs can fill out a brief form here.

We will continually add resources and tips to this page and use social media to elevate innovative ideas from the field, including tips from MENTOR about text-based communications with mentees, and the Virtual Mentoring Portal for existing mentor/mentee matches, launching in partnership with iCouldBe. MENTOR’s E-mentoring supplement to the Elements of Effective Practice and its corresponding checklist are available here.

MENTOR has conducted a survey of programs across communities, types, and demographics to determine their needs and how they are innovating in this moment. The results of that survey are informing our resources and response. We’ve seen very clearly that programs are thinking about and working in their own contexts to move mentoring to virtual spaces when possible.

Continue to use current protocol and approaches – email, newsletters, etc. MENTOR is also creating a one-page list of recommendations for programs. Programs often have policies around how they connect to mentors and mentees and can continue following those protocols (email check ins etc.)

Advocacy and Policy Response
to COVID-19 Pandemic

During this time, MENTOR is working in collaboration with our partners locally and nationally to advance policy and expand funding that addresses the challenges that youth, families, and communities throughout the nation are facing. The health, safety, and well-being of communities is paramount to our movement of relationships. Below are advocacy and policy initiatives and ideas that MENTOR has supported in response to the pandemic:

  • MENTOR Letter to Congress: Support Youth Serving Organizations in Stimulus Bill: MENTOR CEO David Shapiro wrote a letter to Congress urging them to prioritize supporting youth serving organizations and non-profits as they adjust their services during this pandemic.
  • The Charitable Sector: COVID-19 Relief and Economic Stimulus Package: MENTOR joined more than 90 nonprofit organizations in urging Congress to support a $60 billion stimulus package aimed at helping adversely affected local and national organizations in maintaining nonprofit operations and expanding their scope to address increasing demands during this time of crisis.
  • Youth Serving Organizations: COVID-19 Relief and Supports: MENTOR joined 14 youth-serving organizations in urging Congress to consider additional supports that will enable organizations to assist in our nation’s response to the pandemic. This will help sustain the long-term viability of services for young people including funding for sanitizing/deep cleaning facilities, emergency program disruption reimbursements, emergency childcare services, and funding for educational and nutrition services to youth who would normally be in school.
  • Joint Statement on Using Parks and Open Space While Maintaining Social Distancing: MENTOR joined more than 500 groups in a joint statement to support the continued use of parks, trails, and open spaces in a safe manner (using social distancing) that allows people to enjoy the mental and physical health benefits these spaces provide. During this time of uncertainty, open places are needed now more than ever.

The advocacy and policy response to the pandemic is rapidly evolving and MENTOR will update this website with additional initiatives and policies in the coming days.

Legislative Action as of April 7, 2020

Summary of 2nd Coronavirus Stimulus Bill

Summary of 3rd Coronavirus Stimulus Bill

Q&A on CARES Act for Non-Profits

On March 6, 2020, the President signed into law The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which provides $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the pandemic.  The bill primarily directs funding towards the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support the work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Office of the Secretary – Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in addition to funding efforts to address the international response to COVID-19. On March 18, 2020, the President signed into law The Families First Coronavirus Response Act which bolsters the federal government’s response to the pandemic. The bill ensures that all individuals have access to virus testing, strengthens food assistance including meal access for students who are not in school, prevents states from rolling back Medicaid benefits, enhances unemployment aid and establishes an Emergency Paid Leave Program. The President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, 2020. The bill allocates $2 trillion in direct cash to Americans, includes provisions for loans for businesses, expands unemployment insurance, directs more funding to hospitals and expands funding for K-12 education and higher education. See the summary above. Congress is expected to work on a fourth stimulus package in the coming weeks.