Advocacy

Advocacy.jpgMentoring and youth development programs’ voices are vital in helping Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP)  raise awareness about the role that empowering youth-adult relationships play in addressing systemic social problems and garner support at the local, state and federal levels of government. By familiarizing yourself with the steps of the state budget process, learning about policies and initiatives related to mentoring, and building relationships with your community’s legislators and other public officials, you can play a critical role in ensuring that the needs of the field are heard – and met. 

 

 

State

Budget Advocacy

Senate Ways & Means Increases Investment for Mentoring in the FY18 Budget at $600,000!

The Mentoring Matching Grants line item (7061-9634) is a statewide, competitive grant program designed to create and support mentoring matches, and the only state funding dedicated to mentoring. Created in 1999, the line item leverages private funding through a dollar-for-dollar match requirement and is administered by Mass Mentoring Partnership. Over the last 17 years, this investment has supported over 10,000 mentor matches and achieved many positive outcomes for youth, such as improved attitude towards school and classroom behavior, increases in self confidence, self efficacy and positive attitude about the future. The Mentoring Matching Grants is currently funded at $500,000 for FY17 and supports 32 mentoring programs throughout the Commonwealth in their work to collectively match and support over youth with caring adult mentors.

Budget Update

We are thankful for the leadership of Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka and our Senate Champion Senator Linda Dorcena Forry for their continued investment and support of the Mentoring Matching Grants line item. The Senate Ways and Means Committee increased the funding for mentoring programs by $100,000 from the House and Governor's budget recommendations, sending a strong message that mentoring relationships are important and have a direct and positive impact on youth in Massachusetts. Please take the time to contact the Senators on the Ways and Means Committee to thank them for their leadership on this important increase.

What's Next

Following the budget debate and vote in the Senate next week, the budget will be sent to a six-member Conference Committee, who will report a final compromise bill, reconciling each line item that has a different House and Senate allocation. All of our collective efforts will need to focus on outreach to the Conference Committee members to ensure that the Mentoring Matching Grants line item leaves the committee with the Senate recommendation of $600,000 for FY18. An increase of $100,000 in the final budget will allow for increased financial support for grantees of the Mentoring Matching Grants. Check back on this page for updates and calls to action on this critical stage of the conference committee! 

For more information or questions, please contact Chelsea Aquino, Manager of Government Relations and Public Policy, at caquino@massmentors.org

Programs Funded Statewide in FY17

Action Centered Tutoring Services (Springfield) - African Community Education (Worcester) - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MA/Metrowest - Big Brothers Big Sisters Franklin County - Big Brothers Bog Sisters Greater Lowell - Big Brothers Big Sisters Hampden County - Big Brothers Big Sisters Hampshire County - Big Brothers Big Sisters Mass Bay (Cape Cod) - Big Friends Little Friends (Fall River) - Big Friends Litter Friends (Lawrence) - Big Sister Association of Greater Boston - Boston Partners in Education - Brockton Christian Mentoring Initiative - Child Care of the Berkshires - Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (Boston) - Earthen Vessels (Boston) - Falmouth Volunteers in Public Schools - Generations Inc. (Boston) - Girls Inc of Lynn - LUK (Fitchburg/Worcester) - Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters (Greater Boston) - Melrose Alliance Against Violence - Mazie Memorial Foundation Mentoring Program (Waltham/Framingham) - Old Colony YMCA (Brockton) - Partners for Youth with Disabilities (Greater Boston) - Quincy Asian Resources - Railroad Street Youth Project (Great Barrington) - Raw Art Works (Lynn) - Silver Lining Mentoring (Greater Boston) - SMILES (Fall River/New Bedford) - Springfield School Volunteers - Taunton Area School to Career - South Boston TEAM

 

Legislation Advocacy

An Act Relative to Dropout Prevention and Recovery

MMP is working to elevate policy around the evidenced need for greater social-emotional support in schools as a remedy to high dropout rates. We see graduation coaches as the solution to this prevalent issue, as a constant presence within the school building that can mentor at-risk youth and provide wraparound supports. During the course of the last year, MMP has collected peer to peer data from high school students in the Boston Public School System to support this advocacy effort and public awareness campaign in two ways: through a survey and holding focus groups.

We understand the significant positive impacts of mentoring on two early indicators of high school drop-out, these being high levels of absenteeism and recurring behavior problems in school. Graduation coaches add an additional layer of social and emotional support that is integral to the wellbeing of students across our state. For example, in the U.S. only 56 percent of students who have dropped out report that there was a school staff person they could go to about school problems. Youth in developmental relationships are less likely to skip school, present better attitudes and behaviors at school, and are more likely to attend college than their peers.

MMP has drafted recommendations for dropout prevention measures in respect to bills H.2056 and S.222, An Act Relative to Dropout Prevention and Recovery. 

View our bill fact sheet here. For any additional questions, contact MMP’s Manager of Government Relations and Public Policy, Chelsea Aquino, at caquino@massmentors.org.

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National

Massachusetts Mentoring Agenda

In an effort to both educate the Massachusetts congressional delegation on the national priorities of the youth mentoring field in Massachusetts and rally their support, Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP) drafted the Massachusetts Mentoring Agenda. The Massachusetts Mentoring Agenda, which was adapted from the national legislative priorities established by MENTOR, urges each member of the delegation to:

  • Advocate for policies and funding approaches that expand quality mentoring in Massachusetts
  • Support funding for juvenile mentoring grants in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at the $100 million level
  • Co-sponsor the Child Protection Improvements Act
  • Support the inclusion of mentoring in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
  • Become a champion for youth mentoring by joining the House Mentoring Caucus, and supporting commemorations of National Mentoring Month each January

Child Protection Improvements Act

The Child Protection Improvements Act (CPIA) has passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee and now faces the Senate Floor action. Visit the MENTOR website for more information.