[by Nate Rollins]
Thursday, February 16th was the regional networking event for Central Mass sponsored by Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP), a non-profit organization in Boston. The meeting was held at the YWCA in Worcester.
There were about 15 attendees representing about 10 different organizations. One organization was grassroots, 100% volunteer, with around a dozen people running it. Three guesses who that was.
On the other end of the spectrum was the CEO of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Massachusetts.
The event was the first regional networking event held and I feel it won’t be the last. It was well received and seemed to be beneficial to all who attended. I certainly enjoyed it. Here are some interesting things I took away:
- There is a virtual (Zoom) peer-to-peer training event on February 28th from 5:00-6:30pm. Students are encouraged to attend. This could fit well into the ‘core values’ we at REAL Mentors are engaged with. You can sign up here: https://massmentors.org/event/peer-to-peer-youth-advocacy-training-with-the-ylc/
- Youth Mentoring Day is on Wednesday, March 22nd. This is in person at the State House in Boston. It would be an all-day field trip. Might take some doing, but what a great opportunity. Check it out here: https://massmentors.org/event/youth-mentoring-day-2023/
- The MMP receives a yearly grant that they redistribute to Massachusetts based organizations like ours. They generally receive $1.3million for the year. This year they are asking for $1.6 million. They start accepting applications in April. This could really give our program a boost if we were to even get a small piece of that pie.
- A lot of emphasis was placed on communicating with our local legislators to advocate for mentoring.
- There was a long, informal discussion about CORI and protecting the children vs. protecting the organization. There is a lot of concern regarding the CORI system and whether it is a good system or not. It was interesting to hear that there exists some level of controversy around the CORI system.
Overall, I was really glad I went. I made some connections with other people who share our vision and ambition. I learned of resources that are available to us for free through MMP.
I am looking forward to attending their next event.