2014 National Mentoring Summit: Materials and Motivation to Last Throughout the Year

Mentoring Youth Summit LogoJanuary 30-31, 2014 was the 4th annual Mentoring Works! National Mentoring Summit in Washington, D.C. and my first year of attendance at this conference. MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, along with host committee members, planned a summit filled with timely, informative, and dynamic presentations and workshops. It was a very energizing summit and it renewed my sense of purpose for supporting Check & Connect programs across the country.

I was particularly moved by the panelist, James Anderson, in one of the plenary sessions. He talked very candidly about his personal experience as a youth in the juvenile justice system. He talked about the role that mentors had played in his life and offered advice for current mentors working with adjudicated youth.

The key role here is to stick it out. It’s not always being super involved. Sometimes you have to back away and let someone bump their heads a couple of times. Because at the end of the day you’re not responsible, they have to make their own decisions; because only someone who wants to change is going to change. But the fact that you stuck around, this person stuck around for 18 months. The first three-four months, I was thinking, “When are you going to leave?” The fifth and sixth month I’m thinking, “You’re showing pity, you pity me, you don’t care about me.” By the eighteenth month I’m like, “This person loves me, because I have nothing to offer and they are showing they are not trying to use me.” So stick in their lives through thick and thin.

This was an awesome conference. I felt an increased motivation for my work throughout the conference because of engaging speakers and content-rich sessions. After attending this conference, I have renewed confidence that mentoring does indeed work. However, another and possibly greater measure of conference quality is the amount of knowledge or materials which I can actually take away with me to apply to my work and share with others. This summit included several golden nuggets of take-away items including:

  • knowledge of a soon to be launched National Mentoring Resource Center
  • samples from the Mentor Training Toolkit
  • a video link to an inspiring plenary session: Mentoring’s Role in Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline

National Mentoring Resource Center

There will soon be a new resource center to support youth mentoring. The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) was awarded a grant from the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) for the Development of a National Mentoring Resource Center. MENTOR aims to connect research, capacity building, and practice through this resource center. Key components of the planned center will include:

  • Website
    • What works section
    • Searchable clearinghouse of resources
    • Access to online webinars and training
  • Opportunity to request training and resources
  • Training and technical assistance opportunities
  • Research board chaired by David Dubois, Ph.D. (lead co-editor of Handbook of Youth Mentoring), which will vet research and evidence-based practices for listing on the website

Ready To Go: Mentor Training Toolkit

One session provided information on how the Ready To Go: Mentor Training Toolkit was developed by the Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development. The presenters were:

  • Lisa Bottomly, Senior Mentoring Specialist
  • Molly Frendo, Associate Program Leader

The presenters engaged the group in abbreviated versions of several of the training activities included in the curriculum. This curriculum is a great resource for Check & Connect project coordinators who are looking for ready-made professional development activities to use with their Check & Connect mentors. All of the activities are research-based and were developed by a team of 29 contributors, reviewed by 8 experts in the field, and piloted at 21 different sites. The curriculum includes 5 modules:

You can see for yourself what this curriculum has to offer: Free Introduction and Cover Pages PDF          

Plenary Session: Mentoring’s Role in Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline

One of the main reasons I attended this conference was to see the panel discussion on Mentoring’s Role in Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline, moderated by David Gregory from NBC’s Meet the Press. I was particularly interested in this session due to my role as Check & Connect trainer with the MAP Project, an evidence-based project which supports juvenile offenders with disabilities transitioning from Ramsey County Community Corrections facilities serving youth in Minneapolis/St. Paul into school, employment, and community programs.

The four panelists for this session brought a wealth of knowledge and experience.

A video link for this entire 49-minute session is available on the MENTOR website. Click here to link to video.

Next Year

I plan to attend the 5th annual National Mentoring Summit in January 2015. How about you?


Host Committee Members


About the Author: Eileen Klemm, M.A. is the project coordinator for Check & Connect presenting training nationally, facilitating the Check & Connect Coordinators’ Community of Practice, and providing leadership in the overall training and support of the Check & Connect model.

© 2014 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

2 thoughts on “2014 National Mentoring Summit: Materials and Motivation to Last Throughout the Year

  1. Thanks for sharing. This is very interesting in deed! The quote from keynote speaker about sticking it out, rang so true in my experience with some sixth graders I worked with in the past. We set such lofty goals for us, to make a difference in the lives of the kids we try to help, and when the problems persist we can feel so discouraged. Yes, we just need to remember that the most important thing we are doing is to be there for those kids; to “show up,” as David Gregory states, during the plenary presentation I viewed from your link. I would love to attend next year’s mentoring summit.
    Mary Cone
    Mentor in Caddo Parish

    • Mary,

      I’m so glad that you had the chance to watch the video and enjoyed it as much as I did. Thanks for “showing up” for the students in Caddo Parish! I hope to see you at the National Mentoring Summit next year.

      Eileen Klemm

Comment on this post (comments are moderated)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s