What a Wonderful National Mentoring Month!

Wow! What an amazing January we just had for youth mentoring! In this blog, I'm going to highlight a few notable events.

Friends for Youth's 12th Annual Mentoring Conference, Share What You Know: Collaboration and Networking in Youth Mentoring, was held on January 27 and 28, 2011 at the San Mateo Marriott and Oracle's Conference Center. We had a record number of attendees - 270 over 2 days! - and the mood was incredibly upbeat and energetic. Mentoring professionals from across California, the country, and even from a few other countries participated in the pre-conference courses and workshop sessions with focus, commitment, and thoughtfulness. Thanks to the generosity of Friends for Youth supporters, we were able to raffle off 2 video cameras, an MP3 player, a Kindle, an iPad, and 30 copies of Stand By Me. We were all so impressed with the virtual presentation by Jean Rhodes, Ph.D., for our lunchtime keynote - she Skyped in from her home in Boston and even got to share how much snow was in her yard!

Friends for Youth also presented our inaugural Making A Difference Awards to six notable and remarkable supporters of our agency, youth mentoring, and youth in our community. We were delighted to have Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Assembly Member Rich Gordon, Oracle's Giving and Volunteers, San Jose Police Department's Sargent Steven McEwan, Rick May, and Board member and mentor Judy Heyboer in attendance to accept their awards and share their enthusiasm for positive and supportive mentoring programs. We are lucky to have so many supporters to help us make 1,800 matches and provide services to 1,200 agencies across the globe. Special thanks to our conference supporters Oracle, the Center for Applied Research Solutions, and the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health.

Sharing and collaboration were evident throughout all sessions. Kelly Belmonte, a guest presenter from Dare Mighty Things, writes about her experience on their new platform, In The Arena. The National Mentoring Center's Michael Garringer demonstrated how to use their online networking tool, Mentoring Forums, a website where youth mentoring professionals from all over the United States, Canada, and the rest of the world can share innovative program practices and tips on the art of mentoring.
In one of the new Forum sessions, designed for participants to connect with each other and share their expertise over specific topics, one participant received immediate feedback from his peers about a complicated ethical situation in his program. It was impressive for me to hear the high level of thoughtfulness and consideration while we talked through the issue. I later heard back from this particular participant about how they resolved the situation - if you were in the session and want to know what happened, call me! Attendees were also excited to hear about the newly forming California Mentoring Partnership and the support from MENTOR we can expect to see soon.

Speaking of MENTOR, their first National Mentoring Summit held just two days before in Washington, D.C., was exciting and well-worth the 24-hour trip! Mentoring professionals from many statewide and national organizations were treated to an opening session in the Library of Congress' reading room and a keynote address from First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as a panel discussion with White House Cabinet members. As a provider of support to other programs and someone who relies on the latest research, I was thrilled to hear the announcement that the University of Massachusetts Boston will partner with MENTOR to form the UMass Boston/MENTOR Research Alliance, a first-of-its-kind institute that will support the advancement of youth mentoring efforts. Jean Rhodes, our keynote presenter, will be the Research Alliance’s first research director and hold the endowed chair for that position.

On a more local level, 70 mentors and mentees participated in two National Mentoring Month events through our partnership Bay Area Mentoring. First, we became the audience for ABC 7's 7Live television show on Monday, January 17, providing enthusiasm for mentoring and commentary on topical stories. On Sunday, January 31, 50 mentors and mentees were treated to not just a home court Golden State Warriors game, but also courtside seats during warm-up and a shout-out on the Jumbotron during halftime. Special thanks to ABC7 and the Warriors' Community Relations for these opportunities!

Even though National Mentoring Month has come to a close, we hope that you'll consider becoming a mentor to a young person or supporting a local program - as every speaker during January's events noted, young people need our support, guidance, and love now more than ever. If you don't think so, please read this blog from Stoked Mentoring's founder, Steve Larosiliere, from the beginning of January and you'll change your mind!


Top Ad 728x90