Virginia Mentoring Partnership Celebrates Mentoring Month
By Patricia Cason
In January, the Virginia Mentoring Partnership celebrated National Mentoring Month, an annual campaign held since 2002 that promotes youth mentoring in the United States. Elizabeth Bass, the executive director of VMP, calls National Mentoring Month “a burst of awareness, advocacy and and focus on mentoring for young people both locally and nationwide.”
During the month, VMP participated in events that ranged from local advocacy in Richmond to lobbying members of Congress for more funding for mentoring programs. VMP hosted trainings in Richmond for volunteers who want to be mentors, partnered with local organizations for mentor recruitment and connected people who want to get involved with mentoring with resources to make it happen.
Statewide, VMP participated in appreciation events for both staff and AmeriCorps Vista members, another service organization the VMP partners with for mentoring programs. These events spanned Virginia and gave volunteers and staff an opportunity to network and collaborate.
During the last week of January, the VMP team traveled to Washington, D.C for the National Mentoring Summit with staff from about 40 other mentoring programs from Virginia. The week featured workshops that focused on mentoring disadvantaged populations and a Capitol Hill Day, where VMP staff joined with 500 other mentoring providers to lobby members of Congress for more funding.
“Here in Virginia, we are the lead connector for youth mentoring and supporting mentoring programs,” Bass said. “During National Mentoring Month, we really use that time to promote why it's important to mentor kids and young people, what are the options and ways that you can get involved and why is it important to invest and support that work.”
Affiliated with the VCU Division of Community Engagement and championed by longtime board member Cathy Howard, VCU vice provost for community engagement, VMP partners with youth mentoring programs to help grow their impact throughout the commonwealth. To learn more about the VMP’s mission or get involved in youth mentoring, visit the VMP’s website.