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Mentoring in Hampden County

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A report from Mass Mentoring Partnership delivered in Holyoke Tuesday.

Text of Mentoring in Hampden County

  • The State of Youth Mentoring and Youth Development in

    Hampden County

    Findings from the 2014 Mass Mentoring Counts and Youth Development Organizations Survey



  • 1

    Launched in 2006 by Mass Mentoring Partnership, Mass Mentoring Counts (MMC) is a biennial research initiative of formal youth mentoring programs across Massachusetts. It depicts the landscape, trends, and needs of the youth mentoring field. Conducted by the Donahue Institute of University of Massachusetts, MMC is a powerful tool that has enabled MMP, its network of programs, and key stakeholders to establish benchmarks to better meet the needs of youth, strengthen the case for investment for public and private resources, raise public awareness for the field, and guide strategic decision-making.

    Introduction and Background

    The power of relationships is central to the youth development and formal youth mentoring fields in promoting the healthy growth and development of young people, enabling them to become successful and thriving adults. A variety of approaches, strategies and settings are utilized in both fields to create, support and nurture these types of youth-adult relationships. Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP) defines empowering relationships as powerful, close connections between staff/volunteers and young people that positively shape their identities and contribute to their personal growth to reach their full potential. For the first time and as part of its 2015-2017 strategic visioning, MMP has broadened its scope to include the wider field of youth development and youth serving organizations in an effort to maximize resources and opportunities for youth to access programs and organizations focused on empowering youth-adult relationships. To better understand the landscape of youth development organizations, MMP engaged the Donahue Institute to conduct research on these organizations in four targeted geographies: the Boston neighborhoods of Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan, the Essex County cities of Lynn and Lawrence, Hampden County, and Cape Cod and the Islands. This report provides results from both surveys on Hampden County. The formal youth mentoring programs and youth development organizations that participated in the Mass Mentoring Counts and the Youth Development Survey were included in this report if they have administrative offices, program sites or serve youth who live Hampden County.

  • 2

    Table of Contents:

    Mass Mentoring Counts

    I. Formal Mentoring Programs: Overview and Characteristics.....3 II. Snapshot of Youth Served at Formal Mentoring Programs.......7 III. Youth Participants..9

    a. Map 1 Annual Number of Youth in Formal Mentoring Relationships by Single-Parent Families in Poverty.10 b. Map 2 Annual Number of Youth in Formal Mentoring Relationships by Educational Need11 c. Map 3 Annual Number of Youth in Formal Mentoring Relationships by Workforce Readiness12

    IV. Snapshot of Mentors at Formal Mentoring Programs......13 V. Program Practices/Organization...14 VI. Cultural Competency and Diversity.14 VII. Program Needs and Challenges........17

    Youth Development Survey

    I. Youth Development Survey: Overview and Characteristics....18 II. Snapshot of Youth and Adults Participating........21 III. Diversity...22 IV. Program Needs.....23

    Concluding Remarks.......24

    Appendix A- Participating Youth Mentoring Programs......26

    Appendix B- Participating Youth Development Programs......27

  • 3

    Mass Mentoring Counts 2014

    I. Formal Mentoring Programs: Overview and Characteristics

    In an effort to learn about new and existing formal mentoring programs, Mass Mentoring Partnership asked formal mentoring programs to provide or, in some cases, update their general information such as administrative location, mission, and year it was established. It also asked information regarding the mentoring program, such as program type, number of youth served, and the location and frequency matches meet. Furthermore, in an effort to learn more about the youth that the mentoring field is serving, MMC 2014 asked programs to identify demographic subgroups for the youth population served, the goals their program intends to address and any outcomes they measure to evaluate their progress.

    Nineteen formal youth mentoring programs located in or serving youth from Hampden County responded to MMC 2014. 79% of these programs have administrative offices in Hampden County, 16% in Hampshire County and 5% in Suffolk County.

    Approximately three-quarters of formal youth mentoring organizations have been

    established in the last ten years, one-quarter of programs have been in existence for 10 years or more.

    Mentoring matches meet in a variety of places. Three-quarters of programs reported

    being site-based, with the meetings between youth and mentors primarily taking place in designated locations such as schools, organizations and community centers. Programs reported serving youth in elementary, middle and high school equally, with about one-third reported for each. The remaining programs reported being community-based, with the meetings of mentors and youth taking place throughout the community.

  • 4

    The majority of formal mentoring programs reported that their matches are one-to-

    one (58%) with one young person matched with an adult. Nearly one-fifth of programs utilize group mentoring and a combined approach (combination of any type of mentoring) respectively. The remaining programs reported team or cross-age peer mentoring.

    Approximately 56% of programs serve less than 50 youth per year. Nonetheless,

    youth mentoring programs vary widely in the number of youth served. 40% of programs serve 50-249 youth and about 6% of programs serve 500 and more youth.

    Formal mentoring programs focus on building long-lasting and consistent

    mentoring relationships. 68% of programs require at least weekly meetings and 22% require meetings 2-3 times per month. Over one-half of programs estimate that their matches meet for 3-5 hours per month. One-fifth of programs reporting estimated that their matches meet more than 10 hours per month. 47% of programs expected their matches to last one year, 32% for at least a school year.

    Mentoring programs were asked to estimate the percentage of youth they serve who represent various subpopulations. Formal mentoring programs in Hampden County are reaching youth in need of mentors.

    The majority of programs estimated that 75% or more of their youth include youth who come from low-income families, youth from single-parent families, and those at academic risk.

    Similarly, programs estimated the following subpopulations most frequently: low-income families, single-parent households, recent immigrant/refugees, adjudicated-court involved, academic achievers and those at academic risk.

    No programs reported that the youth they serve are enrolled in post-secondary education, or foster care.

    Less than 10% of programs reported serving youth who dropped out of school and those who identify as LGBTQ.

  • 5

    Compared to statewide data, programs in Hampden County reported serving youth with disabilities, incarcerated parents and adjudicated/court-involved in higher percentages. Conversely, they reported serving youth who are first generation to attend college and recent immigrants in lower percentages when compared to statewide data.

    Youth Subgroups Hampden County Statewide data

    First Generation to Attend College 38% 58% Recent Immigrant 11% 29% Youth with Disabilities or Special Health Care Needs

    44% 32%

    Foster, Residential or Kinship Care 33% 15% Incarcerated Parents 24% 7% Adjudicated/Court-Involved 27% 13% Academic Risk 67% 81% Youth who have Dropped Out of School

    29% 7%

    The most cited primary intended youth impacts that formal mentoring programs are designed to address include increasing self-esteem, improving social competency and support for those who are academically behind. Approximately one-third of programs reported addressing youth identity, and supporting youth in college respectively. Similarly, one-fifth reported addressing violence prevention and promoting community involvement.


















    Single Parent Household

    Recent Immigrant

    Adjudicated/Court Involved

    Incarcerated Parent

    Youth with Disabilities

    Academic Achievers

    Academic Risk

    First Generation College

    Youth Subgroups

    75% or more

    25% or more

  • 6

    Compared to statewide data, programs in Hampden County reported intending to prevent high-risk behaviors like substance abuse and early pregnancy in higher percentages.

    Program Goals Hampden County Statewide data

    Job skills/work readiness 37% 47% Social competence 90% 79% Substance Abuse Prevention 37% 22% Avoidance of early pregnancy 42% 14%

    Nearly all (95%) programs reported currently measuring outcomes to assess their programs success in meeting its intended youth participant goals. The most commonly reported outcomes measured include quality of relationships between youth and mentor, academic performance/grades and attitudes towards school. Approximately one-third of programs reported measuring graduation rate, substan

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