Youth Mentoring@100%: Innovation 9
Strengthening Local Services
The projects presented in the ten innovations areas are all designed to address barriers to vital services. Action teams should review all projects and prioritize those that have the best chance of addressing the barriers identified in the 100% New Mexico countywide survey. Your collaborative and result-focused local work is nothing less than heroic.
Project: Youth Mentoring.9.1
Project 1: The “know your state and federal options” project
Rare is the urban or rural mentoring support program or agency that doesn’t get by without a lot of help and guidance from the state or federal government (or both). Knowing a bit about those relationships will be great background and possibly aid you with your own relationship to empower funding for a local agency.
Project: Youth Mentoring.9.2
Project 2: The “we need a state coalition to make great things happen” project
Collaboration and the strategic use of data and technology can help county players find a way to ensure that every child who would benefit from mentoring can access it. We are not trying to imply the complex task of connecting all mentoring groups in the state is simple. It’s a big job. We are advocating for the start of a long-term, local dialogue about making mentorship universal. This particular project is about joining or creating a countywide and statewide network of mentoring advocates who believe that mentorship is not a luxury, it’s a vital service. A coalition will allow you to have a strong voice in your community as well as your city, county and state government. For this reason, coalitions matter and they can be a force for awareness.
Technology can connect everyone in the network with a shared vision, goals, activities, use of data, use of communication and messaging and evaluation process. Your action teams’ work starts with identifying who is in the lead with mentoring.
Project: Youth Mentoring.9.3
Project 3:The “can the state pay for background checks for all face-to-face and online mentors to ensure safety?” project
Institutions like Big Brothers Big Sisters do a background check on all potential mentors and it’s an excellent practice. Background checks for mentors that typically cost money include federal checks, state checks, DMV checks, child abuse clearance, etc. Costs can range from $40 to $65. This project would focus on identifying interest among local governments in funding background checks as part of overall support for creating a countywide system of youth mentoring with professionally screened mentors. Having background check costs covered would ideally create few barriers to mentorship, increasing participation.