The Story of the National Mentoring Alliance

“We want to create a mentoring movement in our community. ... Now we have the numbers, now we have more people outside of dedicated staff that are providing support to our young people. Now we have volunteers from the community coming in to support the mentoring program. When we have these mentors it’s not just about volunteering, but also what opportunities do they bring for our young people.” — YouthBuild Program Manager

The YouthBuild USA National Mentoring Alliance (NMA) was formed in 2009 with funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). With follow-on funding from the FY13 OJJDP National Mentoring Programs Award, the NMA will continue to improve outcomes for YouthBuild participants through the support and guidance of a one-to-one relationship with a caring adult. A three year grant from OJJDP provides funding to 40 YouthBuild programs to hire a dedicated Mentoring Coordinator to establish and sustain a solid mentoring component that will be fully integrated into a well-functioning YouthBuild program.

Through a research-based mentoring model and a holistic approach which makes use of group mentoring and community service activities to support one-to-one matches, the NMA has funded mentoring in 58 YouthBuild programs. Collectively these programs are committed to supporting over 1,700 successful mentoring matches that last 15 months each.

While the participating programs report an overall strengthening of outcomes among mentored youth, the impact of mentoring within these 58 programs can be seen first and foremost through the significant moments within the lives of participating students. For example, one young man described how his mentor was there for him at a critical time:

“I was on the phone with my mentor … when I found out that my grandmother had passed. I told him what happened, and he came right down to see me. He really helped me get through that. He put in my head that it was okay for me to mourn but to still stay on track and do what I have to do. That was a big positive experience we had. We have talked a lot since then.”

Similarly, a female student shared her story of how mentoring made a difference in her life because of the actions of her mentor at a significant moment:

“She has gotten me into wanting to help out at the animal shelter or the pregnancy center. She’s got me into volunteering. She took me to the hospital when I went into labor and she sat there until my mom got there. That helped the relationship a lot because it showed that she’s a really caring person and that she will be there for me as much as she can.”

YouthBuild USA seeks to scale the mentoring initiative to all YouthBuild programs. We are also working to make the National Mentoring Alliance a leading resource among organizations providing mentoring to 16-to-24 year-old youths in their transition to adulthood.

Contact the NMA: Melissa Medina, Mentoring Operations and Grant Manager, (617) 741-1204.