If All Kids Could Have a Mentor Like This…

Photo Courtesy of ESPN

If you didn’t catch the story about a Little League coach’s inspiring speech to his losing team, we hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch it here.  This kind of great mentoring moment exemplifies the work we are trying to do for mentoring in our region. Can you imagine if every adult had the skills to talk to youth in this way? To pass on life lessons with this degree of connection, compassion and wisdom?

It reminds us of all the amazing mentors out there—coaches, teachers, neighbors, grandparents, friends—who may not think of themselves as “mentors,” but who are doing this important work every day. If you know one of these amazing people, please take a minute to reach out and thank them for everything they do for kids!

Settling In for a New Adventure!

Photo Courtesy of Head4Success.com

Summer is usually a time for a slower pace with mentoring programs. With vacations and school breaks disrupting normal routines, mentors and their mentees can find themselves starting back at square one with one another come September.

Be ready to start again with your mentee. Kids change fast and pick up new interests and new behaviors in the span of a few short months. Don’t assume that what interested your mentee back in June will still be as fascinating as fall approaches.

Allow time for getting reacquainted. Asking questions about what new skills they learned or new interests they developed is just as important as asking the proverbial “what did you DO this summer?”.

Be sure to notice new developmental milestones. If your mentee is suddenly hyper-aware of their appearance or seemingly more distracted by members of the opposite sex, these are normal changes in development. Look for healthy ways to help them navigate these changes in their life.

Walking the path with a young person as they change and grow is a privilege. Even if you feel lost at times by all the changes, remember your mentee may feel as lost as you do. Remaining steadfast and loyal can anchor your mentee when they feel lost at sea. Just hang in there and keep smiling! It works!

Reason # 1,521 Why We Love Our Jobs: Thank You Notes Like This

We love our jobs.  Seriously, honestly, 100%…we love working with so many unique and amazing mentoring programs, all striving to make life for the kids in our community even better.  We come to work every day with smiles on our faces and thank you notes like this one are just the icing on the cake…thank you, Girls Hope!

Girls HopeMentoring Partnership,

Thank you very much for being such a valuable resource for our program!  We are so grateful for all of your trainings, webinars, materials, opportunities and, most of all, for your dedication to mentoring!  You have helped us so much over the past few months and have helped us to improve our programs in ways we never considered.

Thank you!

Girls Hope

About Girls Hope of Pittsburgh

Girls Hope of Pittsburgh provides a well-balanced, nurturing home and quality education through college for academically capable girls. Serving children between the ages of 10-18 who are at risk due to poverty, neglect or  harmful neighborhood conditions, Girls Hope gives girls a foundation for success by addressing their basic needs and providing enriching opportunities that build confidence and self-esteem.

TMP Receives 50/50 Raffle Grant from the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation

Pens Foundation-TMP     The Mentoring Partnership receives ten thousand dollars from the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation. From left, TMP Board Member Courtney Murray, TMP Executive Director Colleen Fedor, TMP Board Chairman Carlo Morgano and Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation President Dave Soltesz.

The Mentoring Partnership is the recipient of a 50/50 raffle grant from the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation. From left, TMP Board Member Courtney Murray, TMP Executive Director Colleen Fedor, TMP Board Chairman Carlo Morgano and Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation President Dave Soltesz.

TMP is excited to announce that we are the recipient of a $10,000 50/50 raffle grant from the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation!  This grant will directly support our work with more than 150 mentoring programs in our community.  It will also give us the opportunity to contribute to furthering the goals of the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation:

  • actively promote physical well being
  • encourage teamwork
  • stress the value of education
  • provide essential life skills to young people in our community through youth hockey and other activities

Thank you to the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation for its support and generosity!

 

Via MENTOR: Creating More Inclusive Mentoring Programs for LGBTQ Youth

MENTOR

 

 

 

June is LGBT Pride Month and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership reached out to Dr. Christian Rummell to highlight action steps that every mentoring program can take to become more inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

The article outlines four action steps that mentoring programs can use to  start the process of being more intentionally inclusive and targeted.  Read the full article here.

 

 

The Mentoring Effect: One School District’s Success

Be a Middle School Mentor

Photo credit: Be a Middle School Mentor, a program of United Way of Allegheny County

Earlier this year, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership released new research that confirmed mentoring has a significant impact on young people.  To further highlight the report, MENTOR just unveiled MentoringEffect.org, a site dedicated to the new report and its findings.  The site doesn’t just provide info on the report…it shows real-life examples of the findings at work!

We’re so excited to see that the Be a Middle School Mentor program, Pittsburgh Public Schools and United Way of Allegheny County have been recognized as an example of how mentoring can positively impact an entire school district and its community.  Read the full story here!

Thoughts on Closure: “It wasn’t really what books I chose that mattered…”

Closure at RIF Pittsburgh

 

Kristine Pugliese, TMP Natural Mentoring Coordinator, volunteers with Reading is FUNdamental Pittsburgh.  Below, she shares an amazing story about how her group brought their school year to an end.

In the mentoring world, we frequently talk about the importance of closure activities as mentoring relationships reach their natural conclusion. As a volunteer for Reading is FUNdamental Pittsburgh’s school-based lunchtime literacy and mentoring program, I recently experienced a year-end celebration for the volunteers and their 2nd or 3rd grade counterparts.

In preparation a few weeks earlier, I’d been given a postcard to write a message to my mentee and decorate however I wished. We were also allowed to buy our mentee a parting gift of books or literacy-related games/crafts in addition to the several books they would receive from the program.

As I walked in the library that day with my polka-dotted wrapped gift in hand, I wondered if I’d gotten it right. Would he like the books I chose? Was it enough? Was it too much?

He unwrapped everything carefully, taking time to look at each book. Then he found the double picture frame at the bottom of the bag. On one side of the frame was a picture taken of the two of us one day in the program and on the other side was the postcard I’d written for him. He read my message aloud and I watched as his face spread into a radiant smile.

Then, unexpectedly, it was my turn. In the gift bag he handed me, there was also a double frame with the same picture of the two of us and a postcard that he’d written and decorated for me. I could see he’d been careful to get the words and pictures just right. It now sits on my desk, a great memory and an inspiration.

In the end, it wasn’t really what books I chose that mattered. They will hopefully find their way into his hands on a rainy summer day somewhere down the line. It was the words we had written to each other, now framed and somehow more substantial, that meant so much more. What a wonderful way to show the power of words for a program whose mission is one and the same.

Time to Secure Federal Funding for Youth Mentoring

We want you...to advocate for federal funding for youth mentoring.

“We want you…to advocate for federal funding for youth mentoring.”

This week, the U.S. Senate appropriations committee will be voting on the FY15 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill. The CJS bill has jurisdiction over the Youth Mentoring Grant program managed by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership is calling on Congress to fund the Youth Mentoring Grants program at $100 million in fiscal year 2015 (FY15). Last week, the House approved $90 million for the program, restoring it to the FY13 levels. Now, it’s the Senate’s turn to take action.

We can help!

MENTOR is hosting a grassroots call-in day TODAY for youth mentoring advocates to contact their U.S. Senators about the Youth Mentoring Grants program. We can all work together to push for an increase in funding for the Youth Mentoring Grants program. Contact your U.S. Senators with this simple message: fund the Youth Mentoring Grants program at $100 million in fiscal year 2015 (FY15).

Advocating is Simple…Really!

MENTOR has made it really easy to reach out to your senators with prepared talking points and a link to contact information.  Check out these resources here and help us ensure that every child who wants or needs a mentor has access to one.

Putting “Men” Back In “Mentoring”

 

Male MentorIt is something to watch a good father, a man invested in his child’s life.  It is something to admire.  But it’s something that a lot of children will never know.

There are some youth in our mentoring programs without a man to stand behind them, to encourage them, to admire them.

The simple and amazing thing of having a man admire you — to laugh at your jokes, smile with pride at your stories, to stand in awe of your talents, to honor the person you are becoming — is a transforming experience.

That admiration, that one man being your biggest fan and your most ardent supporter — that one man can change a life.

And if a child doesn’t have a male role model in their life, does that mean they don’t get the hand on their shoulder, the admiration of an older man to guide and support them?

No.

It means instead all our youth are trying to earn one.

The youth in our lives are trying to “wow” us – their teacher, coach, neighbor, friend. These young people are trying to get one of us to light up when they walk in the room.

If a child walks up and shakes hands with you, they may see you as a man who has something to offer – a listening ear, a path to follow, a story to learn from – a man they’d like to admire and be admired by.

They are asking you –their neighbor, uncle, librarian, coach — to be their mentor.

So men, when these young people open that door to you, say yes. Be a mentor.  Be a man who, through the investment of time and admiration, can make a difference in a child’s life.

You don’t need any special skills. You don’t need tons of time. You just need to admire the youth in your life. Give them your time. Invest in them with your experience. Be a hand on their shoulder and encouraging word along their path – be a mentor, be a friend.

Pittsburgh Mentoring Efforts Profiled in Fayetteville Observer

FayObserver

Max Albright is defended by his mentor, Eric Ledji, as he drives to the basket. Photo courtesy of James Robinson, Fayetteville Observer.

Mentoring has a positive impact not only on mentors and mentees, but also on the programs, schools and communities it touches.  Pittsburgh has long been a city that champions mentoring and, recently, TMP had the opportunity to share why and how mentoring works with our friends in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Greg Barnes, a reporter from the Fayetteville Observer, is working on a year-long series called “Seeking Safety” that analyzes working solutions to Fayetteville’s crime problem.  We had the opportunity to host him here in Pittsburgh for a few days as he sought to learn more about the success our city has had with mentoring.  He spent time talking with key mentoring supporters, as well as mentoring programs like the Be a Middle School Mentor program, Reading is FUNdamental Pittsburgh and MGR Foundation.

Check out the full story (and amazing photos!) here.