Are the Elements of Effective Pratice Relevant?August 21, 2013
I vividly recall my first official meeting with five new teammates who had been deployed to create a mentoring program for 200 students in our faith community. Our supervisor approached the white board and began to write. “‘A’ is where we are right now, no mentors and no matches. ‘B’ is every student in a one-on-one match. We need to get from ‘A’ to ‘B.’ Tell me how we are going to get there.”
After about two minutes of stunned silence we started to share our thoughts regarding what it would take to build this program from the ground up. “We need a mission!” “We need to find the mentors!” “We need to figure out a matching process!” “What about screening?!” The list grew very long; community input, curriculum, goals and objectives, interview questions, parental consent, legal considerations, marketing, and so on.
This meeting introduced me to the complexities involved in starting and maintaining a quality mentoring program. In those first few years, there were many times that we felt fatigued from all the work it took to get the program off the ground, let alone keeping it running. I am sure many of you can relate to that feeling, as you put in so much energy behind the scenes and it feels as if the work never slows. But then we experience a moment such as when we see a mentor and mentee together and this once shy, awkward 13-year-old can’t stop smiling and talking about themselves. At those times, we remember that all of our worthwhile work is really about kids.
When I accepted the job as MPM’s Director of Training of Training and Quality Assurance, I brought with me an enthusiasm to support program staff as they design and maintain mentoring programs that empower kids to be their best selves. My third week on the job, I had a chance to experience this first hand when I participated in our Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ training. Elements of Effective Practice is a comprehensive collection of the best practices for mentoring covering thoroughly the areas of design, evaluation, and operations. The training provides the opportunity to look at the “big picture” of the pieces of building and sustaining a program. I wish I had the chance to participate in such a training when I was working to create a mentoring program from the ground up.
I am so excited to be offering Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ training again on Sept 12-13. Whether you are just staring a mentoring program, are new to the field, or have been working with mentors and mentees for years, this training offers you the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the foundations of a successful program, acquire knowledge about how program evaluation and operations may be easily be translated into practice, and learn from other programs how they implement best practices. I encourage you to visit our website for more details and to register.
I hope you will join us so we may continue to build and sustain quality programs that work to serve our kids well!