Celebrate new beginnings and National Mentoring Month

By Mass Mentoring Partnership CEO David Shapiro

As we turn to the New Year, we focus on resiliency. We celebrate the resiliency of our youth and families as they seek out connections with mentors, and the unwavering strength of mentoring programs’ staff that, amidst funding cuts, hiring freezes, and furloughs, have re-doubled their commitment to delivering quality mentoring services.

We also find continued inspiration in every mentoring match story, illustrating the power of human connection to expand opportunities and horizons for young people and their mentors.

With the New Year and National Mentoring Month (NMM) in mind, we find this a great time to launch our first official Mass Mentoring Partnership blog. We hope you find it a useful addition to our Web site, e-mails, Facebook fan page, Twitter and other communication methods. It’s a way for us to be more conversational and personal with our audience.

This year, our field will continue to defy the economy by executing the most expansive NMM campaign to date and growing the mentoring movement in Massachusetts. Already, we have seen a Massachusetts match – Deborah and Becky of Big Friends Little Friends in Fall River – selected to be featured in a national NMM PSA through the ReelPeople contest.

Through new support from Staples and pro-bono creative from Conover Tuttle Pace, MMP will be able to run the most extensive statewide online and print mentor recruitment campaign in our history.

Long-time mentoring champion Bernie and Phyl’s Furniture will again make it possible for NMM ads to run on WHDH-Ch. 7 throughout the month. Another innovative partner, Building Impact, will hang NMM signs in building elevators and send targeted e-mails promoting mentoring during January. This will all add to the national and local efforts to place PSAs and utilize social media tools, resulting in the greatest number of mentor referrals to date.

These efforts will be complemented by powerful coordinated local efforts:

  • In Lawrence and in the Fall River / New Bedford regions, programs are collaborating with media to maximize recruitment and public awareness efforts
  • In Greater Boston, all three Big Brothers Big Sisters organizations unified for selection by the Community Newspapers Corporation as its Gifts of Hope partner, generating fundraising, recruitment, and awareness
  • The Old Colony Y in Brockton will hold a large-scale recruitment rally aligned with America’s Promise

These examples only begin to capture the efforts of so many to capitalize on the opportunity presented by NMM.

In special events throughout the month, we will demonstrate the strength of mentoring and the powerful results of our work in the halls of the State House (Jan. 21); with funders and employers [Forums in Western MA (Jan. 25) and Boston (Jan. 27)]; and with matches at the Basketball Hall of Fame (Jan. 14), Springfield Armor game (Jan. 23), and the Celtics game (Jan. 25).

This run-down only scratches the surface because our field has unending energy and commitment to our work. I hope you’ll make us aware of your efforts, go to our dedicated content NMM page for more ideas and details, and start the best year ever for youth mentoring, one that highlights our unwavering belief in the achievements of young people and their families when connected with consistent, caring adults.