NMRC and Your Program Explained: September 30th NMRC Deadline

There is one big question going around the MPM office this week, “How is it the middle of August already?!”. As your program thinks about the rest of 2016, keep in mind that all requests for the 2016 National Mentoring Resource Center training and technical assistance must be submitted by September 30th for any work to be done in 2016!

Are you familiar with the free National Mentoring Resource Center?

The program is sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) that has supported mentoring programs with $769 million in mentoring appropriations from FY (fiscal year) 2008-2016. The program’s goal is to increase opportunities for youth have mentors and improve the quality and impact of the mentoring they receive. The Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota (MPM) is the technical assistance and training provider for programs in Minnesota and surrounding states. The types of assistance provided is personalized to mentoring programs individual needs and focused implementation of specific mentoring practices.

Interested in submitting a new request? Requests are now submitted through OJJDP’s centralized technical assistance site, TTA360.

How do you define ‘technical assistance’ ?

Technical Assistance can be personalized to what your organization needs and to meet what stage your program is in.

Ask yourself the following questions when thinking about the next 6 months at your program:

Do you need help with mentor recruitment and retention? Have a questions about best practices for managing or monitoring matches? Do your grants continue to ask for logic models or best-practice evaluation? Need to review your policy and procedures or training materials? Questions about the new Elements of Effective Practice and how your program can incorporate them?

All of those questions fit under that umbrella. If you have a question or would like further examples please contact MPM’s Carolyn Scherer via email or phone (612) 399-0229 for additional information.


What does the whole process look like from start to finish?


Please note if you have any questions about this process, MPM can walk you through the necessary steps. 

  1. Go to the TTA360 website and select NMRC as the TA provider.
  2. An Memorandum of Understanding will be crafted after consultation with one of MPM’s staff members.
  3. Once the MOU is signed by all necessary parties,  there is a pre-survey to complete.
  4. After Technical Assistance is provided, there is an evaluation which is reviewed by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.
  5. TA Provider/MPM completes their report.

Have further questions? Leave a comment, reach out via email or give us a call.

Simpson housing has gone through the National Mentoring Resource Training twice and provided some insight into their experience.

MPM: What was the focus of your NMRC training?  

“For the first round of training we were developing a new mentoring program to serve middle-school students in our Family Housing Program. We had done tutoring and education support in the past, but mentoring was new to us [Simpson Housing] as an organization. We had the NMRC training help us with many things from developing our logic model,  choosing evaluation tools, and creating a recruitment strategy.
Our program went so well that we re-designed the program and added a second mentoring program with a literacy focus for Kindergarten through fifth grade students. This led to us reapplying for NMRC training. In the second round of NMRC was used to create a student-run conference, refine our recruitment messages and redesign our logic model.”
MPM: How did NMRC benefit your organization and matches?
“This helped us immensely in starting new programs. We were able to do some development work on our own based on our expertise in working with homeless and highly mobile families and then take our ideas and get feedback around best practices in mentoring. It gave us the insight and confidence we needed to start a quality program.”
MPM: Are there any quantifiable numbers associated with the benefit you described?
  • 2 new programs designed to serve 20 youth each year (so 40 mentors, 40 youth each year)
  • Pilot year of Middle School Program served 18 mentors and mentees
  • Pilot year of Literacy Mentoring is currently serving 5 mentors and mentees and is adding 15 in coming months
MPM: Because the technical assistance was free, what impact did this have on Simpson’s budget and programming?
“Being in the nonprofit field sometimes means that urgent daily tasks take precedence over items that can wait. Having this NMRC grant kept us on task in our development and also saved us time on our end. We were able to spend the time brainstorming and working and then MPM staff would add in research, type up notes, and direct us to more ideas/resources.”
MPM: What would be your one piece of advice for those planning to complete NMRC?
“Go for whatever your program needs to improve- MPM was able to tackle a wide range of topics.  Don’t be afraid to get specific about what you need. If you’re not sure what area to address, ask for ideas. Take advantage of this amazing resource!”
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State of Mentoring Survey: Help MPM Record!


The Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota (MPM) is in the middle of collecting The State of Mentoring in Minnesota survey results. If you have not signed up for the survey please do so on MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership which is managing the survey for MPM. It will be open until the last week of August. Originally scheduled to close June 24th, we are determined to improve response rates compared with 2015.

Why is this information so crucial?

There are over 280 mentoring programs in the State of Minnesota that work with over 178,000 youth. Therefore there are over 356,000 formal mentoring relationships. In addition, there are 250,000 of Minnesota youth that need a mentor.

Part of our mission and role to elevate the field is to serve and better each of those relationships. As we know, these are not 280 monolithic programs, just like the youth they serve, each is unique!

When looking at how the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota can maximize the services, training, programs and professional development we offer to elevate those relationships we use this information. It is necessary for the work we do to have a larger picture of what the field looks like in Minnesota.

From a policy perspective, we cannot fairly represent Minnesota without an adequate sample size. We need to know programs to connect them with the legislators that serve their mentees and families in district and share the great work that programs do. When discussions of funding and legislative priorities arise, MPM needs to draw on the data collected from the State of Mentoring survey to share the story of mentoring on the community, regional and state level.

Numbers are powerful methods of communicating needs and growth. They are short and concise. Their quantifiable nature makes them easy to picture in an elevator, compare in an info graphic and add an exlaimation point to an argument. Numbers as they say, don’t lie. Please help us make sure our data set thoroughly represents the importance of mentoring in Minnesota!

Here are the logistical details:

What Data is Collected?

The survey asks for current information from 2015 (or the 2014-2015 school year).

Who Should Complete the Survey? When Does It Close?

An executive director, program coordinator, or other staff members who have access to information about program participants and overall program management.

What if I have Multiple Programs?

You can report on up to three of your programs in a single survey response. Please do not aggregate or combine the information from distinct mentoring programs, but rather report on them separately as it can skew data. 

Data Privacy

The State of Mentoring Survey responses are kept private and confidential. Only aggregate data will be released in public reports.

Will I Receive a Copy of the Results? 

All survey respondents will have access to this aggregate information, notes on key trends, and paths forward for the mentoring movement. Results will be available in late-2016 and released at MENTOR’s National Mentoring Summit in January 2017. Additional information about the State of Mentoring Survey and results of past surveys can be found here.
If you experience technical issues in accessing the survey or have any questions about the survey process please contact MENTOR’s Chief Knowledge Officer, Michael Garringer, at mgarringer@mentoring.org.

You are Ready to Begin!

Thank you for the work you do to support children, you and families through mentoring relationships and for your assistance in advancing the collective understanding of mentoring in Minnesota and nationally. Please look below for a sample of some of the results from the last State of Mentoring Survey 2013-2014.

For any additional questions, contact:  Wendy Raymond, Communications and Projects Associate at wendy@mpmn.org or via phone at 612-399-0236.











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Mentoring 365: MN State Policy Debrief 2016, SF 1017

Mentoring 365

The Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota was very active for such a short policy session! Our Executive Director, Mai-anh Kapanke, served as co-chair of the GradMN Policy committee this year. In that capacity we looked for policy that aligned with MPM’s goals of supporting Minnesota’s youth through graduation, of which mentoring (both formal and informal) is a key strategy.  The Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota, in collaboration with many out-of-school time partners, supported the Ignite Afterschool statewide proposal for investments in out-of-school-time funding SF 1017. What happened to SF 1017 when session ended May 23rd?

For the second year in a row, Out of School Time funding was considered in the final Conference Committee budget negotiations. Yet legislators ultimately failed to invest in afterschool programs that inspire learning, keep youth safe, and help working families in Minnesota. Highlights about 1017 this session include:

  •  Bipartisan support in the Senate for SF 1017, the Afterschool Community Learning Grants (ACLG) bill
  • ACLG listed as recommended legislation by the GradMN Coalition
  • 20+ meetings organized with legislators to both educate and advocate for afterschool
  • Unanimous support for ACLG from MN Youth Council
  • ACLG featured as a key policy issue at Youth Day at the Capitol2016

We made progress this session, but there is still more work to be done to inform Minnesota’s decision-makers about the urgent need for afterschool funding in Minnesota, which currently has about 150,000 young people who lack access to afterschool programs. MPM will continue to support Ignite Afterschool in this initiative.


During Youth Day at the Capitol, MN Youth Council Members discussed Ignite’s Bill in conjunction with the Digital backback bill that MPM also reviewed through GradMN. (Photo courtesy of America’s Promise)

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MPM Staff Spotlight: Nicki Patnaude

nicki twins

For many of you reading this blog post, you have had the great fortune of being in contact with Nicki Patnaude, MPM’s Development and Program Support Manager. Nicki brings a vibrant, lively spark to team MPM. She loves to meet and get to know our program partners, keep up-to-date on the latest and greatest in the mentoring and youth development fields, and provide tremendous customer service to all our internal and external stakeholders. Let’s get to know Nicki a little better….

Q: How did you land at MPM?

A: I came to MPM first as a graduate level intern as a part of the MSW program at the University of Minnesota. I remember being at the internship fair (shopping for an internship), and saw MPM’s booth. I loved the description of the organization, especially that it included a public policy focus. Going into grad school, I was looking to gain experience in community organizing and public policy. I was also interested in MPM as an intermediary organization – interning here was a challenge I wanted to pursue.

Q: In your own words, what is your job at MPM?

A: I manage grant writing efforts, support QMAP being piloted on a national level, and doing special projects as assigned…which can be just about anything😉

Q: What tips do you have for mentoring programs trying to boost their development efforts?

A: I’ll share advice I heard at a workshop once: “When you go to funders and ask for money, you will get advice. When you go to funders and ask for advice, they will give you money.” I encourage programs not to be afraid of meeting with funders and sharing ideas they have for their program. Programs can ask funders what the funders see as successful practices from their experience that could be scaled in the program’s setting or community. When an RFP comes out, I like to contact the funder to talk about our program, ask about their program and see if there is alignment before submitting an application.

Q: What song do you belt out in the car when you are by yourself?

A: I have a whole playlist for that situation (well, really, a playlist for pretty much every situation)! Included on the ‘belt it out in the car’ playlist would have to be “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi.

Q: What’s something new happening in the mentoring field that excites you?

A: I’m intrigued by Youth Initiated Mentoring. It reflects my experience – I informally found my mentor, and we likely would not have been matched in a more formal setting. We had the structure of a larger social service organization ‘around’ our match, but it was largely informal. I’m also very excited about mentoring’s role in workforce development which involves workplace supervisors expanding how they see their role to include being a mentor.

Q: Describe your cube at MPM.

A: #inspirationstation.  It is colorful, has lots of pictures of friends and family, and many motivational/inspiring quotes. It is fun and is an environment that I can work well in.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote?

A: “She believed she could so she did.”

Q: What is something on your bucket list that you’ve recently checked off or plan to do?

A: I will be checking off a few items in June…. I’m taking a girls’ trip to explore the Pacific Coast Highway, which will also involve swimming the Pacific. I can’t wait!

Q: And finally, why mentoring?

A: Because mentoring works! It has the power to change people in a very positive way. I wouldn’t be where I am without the mentors I collected along the way. My mentors saw things in me that I didn’t see in myself, which allowed me to make choices I may not have otherwise seen.


Written by Carolyn Scherer, Director of Program Services

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“Kids are great and we should invest in them.” – Mentoring in the News

Mentoring in the News

For this month’s “Mentoring in the News”, we wanted to highlight one our Expert Partners that received quite a bit of coverage in the news recently. While I was up north visiting family the first weekend of March, I noticed that I was hearing Mentor Duluth’s name at the top of every newscast. Naturally, it caught my attention, and I was thrilled to see one of our quality partners receiving positive attention for one of their recruiting initiatives.

In March 2016, Mentor Duluth kicked off their 9th annual recruitment effort: March into Mentoring. Each year, Mentor Duluth seeks to recruit 31 new mentors in the 31 days of March to match with some of the over 200 youth on their waiting list. During this year’s March, Mentor Duluth received coverage for their campaign that went beyond typical attention for mentor recruitment. WDIO/WIRT (an ABC affiliate), Fox 21 News (a FOX Broadcast Network affiliate), WDSE (a PBS affiliate), B105 (a country music station), Duluth News Tribune, and The Woman Today magazine all featured the March campaign either on the air, in print, and/or on their websites. Callie Ronstrom, Mentor Duluth Director, mentioned in one of the news stories that their program usually sees 100 new mentors in a given year so a goal of 31 in one month is quite ambitious. Current mentors, Matt and Anne, shared how simple mentoring can be—that it’s time to have fun with a young person, give back to your community, and connect with a positive, stable adult outside of a young person’s family.  Matt even stated, “Kids are great and we should invest in them.”  Here are some links to the news pieces:

 “Mentor Duluth Seeks 31 Volunteers for March into Mentoring Campaign” – WDIO/WIRT (interview with a Mentor Duluth staff member and mentor)

“March into Mentoring Looks to Recruit 31 Mentors” – Fox 21 News (interview with a Mentor Duluth staff member and mentor)

“March into Mentoring Campaign Hopes to Recruit 31 Mentors in 31 Days in March” B105 Radio

“Almanac North – Mar 4, 2016” – WDSE (interview with a Mentor Duluth staff member and mentor)

“Make a Difference for March 6, 2016” – Duluth News Tribune

Now, I know what you’re wondering: did Mentor Duluth succeed in their effort?  “It’s been a fun month,” Josh Nonnemacher, Mentor Duluth’s Marketing and Recruitment Specialist, stated in an email following the March campaign. Josh noted: as a small program without a ton of financial resources for advertising, the extra attention to their mentoring recruitment campaign was a huge bonus this year.  Typically, they rely on word of mouth and stories from current mentors to help them recruit throughout the year and during the March campaign.  Social media also played an integral part to the month’s recruitment effort.  They featured matches and youth on the waiting list in Facebook and Twitter posts which drew extra traffic and shares.  They also placed a sponsored ad on Facebook which drew over 5,000 impressions and prompted nearly 200 clicks to the mentor information page on their website.

“Yeah, but did they make it?” – I can hear you asking.  Yes, Mentor Duluth was successful in their recruitment of 31 mentors in the 31 days in March.  Was it the extra media attention in the news or the extra effort on social media? Did current mentors share their stories and experiences to the right people in their networks?  I don’t know the answers.  However, after nine years of planning “March into Mentoring”, it’s clear that Mentor Duluth isn’t afraid to try new strategies or to re-energize current efforts to recruit new mentors.

What recruitment efforts has your program tried?  What worked?  What didn’t? Share your strategies in the comments!

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Youth Day at the Capitol- March 29th, 2016

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 was Youth Day at the Capitol (YDAC) , an event organized for young people to engage with policy in Minnesota. #YDAC16 took place at the Wilder Center and over 225 participants. After a kick off rally with interactive questions, conversations with Representative Mariani and Secretary of State Steve Simon learning plenary sessions began.

The morning focused on learning sessions where attendees could learn more about the policies appearing before the Minnesota Youth Council or learn how to effectively interact with policy makers about their concerns. This included a bill focusing on Afterschool Funding, SF 1017 supported by Minnesota’s Out of school time Network, Ignite Afterschool.

Upon finishing lunch, Minnesota Youth Council members prepared for their session, groups had the option to attend two more sessions surrounding the topic of political engagement or met with their legislators.

Beginning at 3:00 PM, legislators began to testify in front of the Minnesota Youth Council in order to gain official recommendation from Minnesota’s youth. The packed room was full of supporters, Youth that attended YDAC, and adult partners. The day can best be summed up using this photo from America’s Promise:

Inline image 1

 Senator Dahle shakes the hand of Ellen Baker, a six grader at Laura Jeffery Academy in St. Paul. Ms Baker decided to act as a youth witness who supported his afterschool funding bill and testified in front of her peers, Minnesota’s legislators and Minnesota Youth Council.
If you’ve like to see more images, stories and moments from this year’s Youth Day at the Capitol click: #YDAC16



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Staff Spotlight: MPM’s Director of Program Services, Carolyn Scherer

Staff Spotlight

If you have completed an NMRC project lately, you have likely benefited from the wealth of knowledge Carolyn Scherer, MPM’s Director of Program Services, brings on the topic of quality mentoring practices. This Staff Spotlight gets to know our newest staff member here at MPM: her work, her inspirations, and what she sees next for the field.

Carolyn directs our Program Services department – that means any of the initiatives we do that directly work with and benefit mentoring programs across the state, including QMAP, training, and consultation. She loves working directly with programs and getting to witness to wide array of approaches and unique kinds of impact different organizations have on their communities. Looking forward, she is excited to create and provide even more innovative types of education, support, networking opportunities, and resources to Minnesota mentoring programs.

A social worker by trade, Carolyn has been most interested in her career in preventative interventions that have a positive impact on young people. This led her to seven years with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities as Director of Customer Engagement. At BBBS, mentoring seemed like a casual concept initially, but she quickly learned that quality made an enormous difference in outcomes. There were numerous best practices within every component of the work. Learning, implementing, and now coaching on these best practices has been the cornerstone of her career in mentoring. She continually impresses upon me the need to remember quality over quantity – in her experience creating well supported, thoughtful matches over pairing together as many adults and youth as possible has the highest positive returns for mentees, mentors, and communities.

However, she also sees best practices as an area of challenge and growth for the field. How do we find the balance between implementing best practices and not getting so entrenched in procedures that we don’t see the bigger picture? How do we enact quality practices with limited staffing and resources? This is not to say she feels negative about the future. She has been continually inspired by the many programs doing amazing work on behalf of kids and the stream of innovation in the field – researchers and practitioners continually innovate to better meet the needs of young people. Especially exciting to her is the expanding conversation about incorporating youth voice into mentoring in a variety of ways.

Mentoring can take place in many forms and she also hopes to continue to spread the conversation and knowledge of informal mentoring. Volunteering at a mentoring program isn’t for everyone or isn’t always right based on what else is going on in a volunteer’s life. Carolyn herself has two young children and doesn’t have the capacity currently to be a formal mentor, but instead looks for ways to make a positive impact on youth in the community in more informal ways. We should all be spreading the message about the powerful positive affects mentoring a child can have on young people and mentors themselves, no matter the setting.

When she isn’t at MPM, Carolyn loves spending time with her two kids and husband, especially outside. She enjoys running, cooking, arts and crafts, and working on the house. Next time you see her make sure to say hello!

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