As the newest staff member at Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP), I am delighted to be part of such a vibrant and dedicated organization. From my first day at MMP I could sense the passion and commitment of the staff. I am thrilled to contribute as the development and field resources associate.
Prior to coming to MMP, I worked as an education legislative assistant in the U.S. Senate. It was through this education policy work that I was first introduced to the proven success and importance of formal mentoring programs. Although policies can be written in an attempt to lower the dropout rate and improve academics, time after time mentoring programs are shown to keep kids engaged and successful in school. Creating positive and encouraging relationships is of utmost importance in supporting a thriving future for children.
Additionally, I have personally seen the success of mentoring programs. While in college, I participated in a “Big Buddies” program and was paired with a young boy from a very large family. We went to the movies, out for ice cream, or played basketball. For him, the value of the partnership was having one-on-one attention from an adult, something he was unable to receive at home. For me, I learned patience, dedication, and new aspects to the community in which I lived and went to school.
Throughout my life, I have had many informal mentors that have guided and encouraged me. Recently, I have been fortunate enough to have a more formal mentoring experience. Last spring, I was named a 2011 Eli J. Segal Citizen Leadership Fellow. Created to honor the legacy of Eli Segal, architect of the AmeriCorps program, this fellowship is unique as it pairs each fellow with a “coach” or mentor who is more established in his or her career. Over the summer, I met with my coach almost every week to discuss leadership skills, career advice and personal challenges. This relationship continues to be extremely valuable as I navigate my professional and personal life. In fact, my mentor helped me realize the importance of seeking out new and different opportunities, which ultimately lead me to MMP!
I truly believe in the power of mentoring in guiding young people to success. At MMP, I hope to contribute to the mentoring movement by boosting awareness, cultivating resources and supporting quality programs.
Guest author Emily Bishop is the development and field resources associate at MMP.