Monday, January 28, 2013

Mentor Summit Workshops. Take a Look.

Yesterday I posted an article with some quotes made by mentoring leaders at last week’s National Mentoring Summit. I also posted a map showing people I met. I do this to draw attention to the need for operating resources and to try to connect with others who will add their time, talent and dollars to building a year-round public attention and resource generation strategy that supports tutor/mentor programs in every neighborhood of Chicago and every city with flexible, constantly flowing operating and innovation resources.

I was able to attend only one workshop in each time frame out of six or seven offered. Thus, unless others are sharing their reflections from the workshops they attended, most of us will only benefit from a fraction of the ideas shared.

I’ve been part of an Education Technology MOOC since Jan 13, in which more than 1600 people are sharing ideas with each other. My hope is that on-line learning events like this can grow in the youth development, mentoring, tutoring fields.

All of the workshops I attended were full of value. Visit this page on the MENTOR website for workshop descriptions, downloads of handouts, and bios of all speakers.

One workshop and one keynote offered a unique new perspective on mentoring opportunities.

The workshop was The Rudd Adoption Mentoring Partnership at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Renee Moss and Jocelyn Nelson of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County, MA and Dr. Harold Grotevant and Jen Dolan from the university, described a mentoring partnership in which college students who had been adopted were matched with middle and high school students who had been adopted.

This project focused on a specific population of special needs youth, matched with college mentors who had the same life experience (adoption) and who met the BBBS stringent guidelines for match compatibility.

Dr. Grotevant provided an overview of some of the issues adopted youth face that only others who have been adopted themselves can really understand. Today he sent an email with links to two presentations that tell more about this unique program.

Mentoring Partnership PDF and PPT of presentation from Summit.

A couple of highlights: The university gave class credit to the mentors, who were required to participate in bi-weekly feedback sessions. Thus there was tremendous coaching provided by the university. Dr. Grotevant reported that the unique program has begun to attract students to the university who have an adoption background.

Renee Moss, the BBBS leader, has been in her role for 27 years! We need to find ways to encourage this depth of experience in thousands of programs. A needed research project might develop information showing tenure of leaders and staff of tutor/mentor programs.

The second special needs program was Eye to Eye, a mentoring program focusing on LD/ADHD youth, which was featured during the Friday lunch time session. This project matches college and adult mentors who have overcome learning disabilities with LD/ADHD youth still in middle school and high school. Visit the web site and see how volunteers serve as Think Different Diplomats to share this program with others.

As with the adoption model, the mentor having the same experience as the mentee was the basis of the match, and the population served cuts all economic levels. Neither of these programs focus primarily on youth living in poverty.

I would expect both models to expand rapidly since affluent parents of adopted or ADHD youth will be more than willing to provide personal philanthropy and fund raising leadership to make such programs available to their own kids.

The second morning workshop that I attended was titled: NYC Mentoring Investment – The Young Men’s Initiative Click here to view workshop description and down load power point presentation.

The most impressive thing about this initiative is the number of organizations involved and the huge financial commitment behind the initiative. The New York City public school population is close to 1 million and the number of youth at risk of drop out in New York City is huge – 532,434! I've written in the past about the unique challenges of big cities with school-age populations over 100,000 youth.

One of the partners in the Young Men’s Initiative, is the department of Probation, which operates the Neighborhood opportunity networks (NeON) among other programs.

I would like to have seen a use of maps in this initiative, to show where the drop out problem is concentrated, and to support marketing efforts aimed at building a flow of needed operating resources, volunteers, ideas, etc. to all of these neighborhoods, and all of the partners in the initiative.

On Thursday afternoon I attended a workshop that described the Coaches Mentoring Challenge

I wrote about this in an article last month. Since I’ve wanted to unleash the power of coaches and athletes to mobilize volunteers and dollars to support tutor/mentor programs in all part of the Chicago region, this was a workshop that I really wanted to attend.

Mentoring network leaders from Iowa (Sarah Hinzman and Chad Driscoll), Kansas (Nicolette Geisler) and Nebraska (Suzanne Hince) described how head football coaches at Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Nebraska were leading a competition to see which state could recruit the most mentors between September and December.

The planning was broken down to “pre season” “game day” and “post game” with lots of information on the web site. See details here and here.

A lot of work goes into this and the mentor leaders deserve a lot of credit. They did a great job of showing the challenges of working with high profile coaches and universities.

This puts a bit of a damper on my own hopes because 99% of the work comes from the Mentor Partnerships while the coaches and universities lend their names and get credit for the good will generated.

I’m idealistic. I want coaches and other leaders to spend quality time trying to make mentoring and tutoring available, just as other volunteers do. If we do all the work for them, the commitment is not really there, nor are we benefiting from the talent and creativity these leaders might apply to building tutor/mentor infrastructure in their cities and states.

I don’t have the manpower, or brain power, to do all of the thinking that is needed to ensure the coach’s involvement has the desired impact. Will need partners to help with this.

On Friday morning I attended a workshop titled Recruiting Policy Advocates to Support Inspiring Program Innovations. An Urgent Call.

This was probably the most valuable workshop of all that I attended. Why?

The facilitator was Janet Forbush, a consultant supporting mentor program growth. We’re both part of the mentoring email list hosted by Dr. David DuBois of UIC. Janet set the stage for the workshop when she said: “You can’t run mentoring programs without money” as part of the introduction to this workshop.

That’s my own view and the efforts I’ve led for past 20 years have attempted to increase the flow operating resources to all tutor/mentor programs in the city.

Trudy Perkins, Office of Congressman Elijah Cummings, MD, was the first speaker on this panel, and provided valuable insight for reaching out to elected officials. I’ve not been very effective in this myself.

Heather Harvison, founder of My Sister’s Circle, , described a girls mentoring program that she formed in 2000. I appreciated this program because it focuses on helping girls from 5th grade through high school and college, and keeping volunteers involved for all seven years. In addition, Heather has been reaching out to build networks with other tutor/mentor programs in Baltimore, similar to my efforts in Chicago since 1976.

I think that there is too little effort to determine the different types of mentoring programs in each city, based on who they serve, and based on how broad-based and long-term their support of young people extends.

Conference speakers said “MENTORING Absolutely Works” but they did not say what that means or that it works when programs are able to support youth and volunteers effectively and sustain youth and volunteer involvement for multiple years. In the rush for “numbers” many programs are not designed to keep youth involved for multiple years. I’ve been trying to build a distinction between different types of tutoring and/or mentoring programs in Chicago since 1993, but never have had the resources to go beyond creating a database of providers which breaks down by age served and type of program. See Connecting with leaders like Heather who also are trying to build a connection with peers, is one step toward gaining more attention and support for this intermediary role.

The final member of the panel was Lynn Sherman, Baptist Health Center in Jacksonville, Fl. Lynn described the Tipping the Scale mentoring program lead by the hospital with partnership from a local CBO. It includes a mentoring and a workforce development component.

This program seems very similar to the programs in the Hospital Youth Mentoring Partnership network, which I connected with in late 1999. Members of the network attended one of the T/MC conferences in 2000 and I was a speaker of a HYMP conference in Baltimore in 2001. As it turns out, Lynn also attended that conference!

I’ve written many articles on the role hospitals can take in building networks of mentor-rich programs in their trade area, but have failed to find a champion who would rebuild the HYMP and expand its focus to one of community network builder from just innovative mentor program operator.

This article describes the partnership and the program at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

This is a press release from Ceasar’s Siani Hospital, which also was part of the partnership

This PDF includes a Commonwealth Fund Report on Hospital Youth Mentoring Partnership from circa 1999

2001 Hospital Youth Mentoring Partnership Conference and list of member hospitals.

My vision of hospitals in intermediary roles, supporting the growth of tutor/mentor programs in their community. I've written about this often since 2005.

The final workshop I was able to attend on Friday before heading to the airport was one focused on Mentoring Central, an on-line training resource that can be used to provide pre-match training to new volunteers. Mentoring Central includes research-based, pre-match blended learning mentor training curriculum; post-match Web-based mentor training on special topics; post-match mentor support resources; and many tools to support mentoring program staff. I was impressed with the creativity and quality of the training modules that were shown during the workshop.

Visit this link to see other workshops I attended and people I connected with.

Summary: For the past 20 years I’ve built a database of Chicago area tutor/mentor programs and a web library with links to research, editorials, programs in other cities, “how to” info, etc. Through the Internet I attempt to connect with representatives of these organizations with a goal of getting help in maintaining the library, and in building public will needed to support tutor/mentor programs in thousands of locations with public and private dollars and volunteer talent. I have hosted a Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference in Chicago every six months with invitations to those in my network to come and share their own ideas and build relationships with others who they may not know.

There are dozens of conferences and events around the country that have workshops and speakers with equal value to the MENTOR Summit. Due to financial restraints I’ve never been able to participate in many of these. While I try to get to as many events in Chicago as I can, I’m so committed to connecting people who attend these conferences via the Internet because with more the 650 attendees, no one is able to connect with more than a few other participants.

You never know who you will meet and what will happen. At the end of the first day of the Mentor Summit as I was collecting my coat a man introduced himself and handed me a book that he was sharing at the Summit. I said thanks and stuffed it in my bag with everything else I picked up to read. Since my flight back to Chicago was delayed, I had time to read the entire book. I found it uplifting, and maybe you will to. It’s titled Mentor: The Kid and the CEO and was written by Tom Pace. Learn more about this book and Tom’s work at

This Forbes article was in my email today. It talks about the need to support the program infrastructure connecting many different programs in efforts to help young people succeed in school and life.

The Tutor/Mentor conference in Chicago in May/June and November is part of an on-going effort to build a collective commitment that supports tutor/mentor programs in all high poverty neighborhoods of the Chicago region. It will be held on June 7 and I hope some of you will help recruit speakers and workshop speakers, as well as a few sponsors. However, the next opportunity we have to connect and share ideas is today, tomorrow and any time you’re motivated to reach out to me on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Skype or via email or the traditional telephone.

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