Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region
Project Goal: The goal of this project is to begin to build a a systematic approach to addressing the mentoring gap by strengthening the fabric of the mentoring community. This will be achieved be encouraging mutually beneficial relationships between mentoring organizations, and between organizations and the Mentoring Partnership & Resource Center (MPRC). Building relationships, promoting best practices and creating opportunities to collaborate with each other and the MPRC is essential in moving the mentoring field forward and ensuring more youth have access to high quality mentors.
To provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported, one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.
Address 123 South Broad St. Ste 1050
Total number of Agency Staff Members 73
Agency Budget $6,208,950
The fellow’s duties and responsibilities:
- Act as liaison between MPRC and mentoring programs throughout the region.
- Conduct outreach (direct contact) to mentoring programs in our service area and engage them in MPRC services and best mentoring practices.
- Assist with development and execution of professional development events that support our mission and add value to network providers.
- Develop processes for:
- project management and planning
- crowd-sourcing professional development topics
- assessing topic relevance and accordance with best practices
- developing agendas
- securing speakers and talent
- communications and promotions
- event planning
Skills/qualifications a fellow should have to succeed in the position:
Academic: Bachelor’s degree required
Professional: 1-3 years nonprofit and/or social service experience (can include volunteerism); research and/or project management experience desired; proficient in Microsoft Office software packages.
Personal attributes: Conscientious self-starter; highly organized; possess a strong customer/client focus; strong listening, writing, and interpersonal communications skills; demonstrate the ability to work effectively with diverse populations; possess flexibility and a sense of humor; have an articulated belief in the mission of the Mentoring Partnership & Resource Center.
Specific community need that the Philly Fellow will address:
Philadelphia is home to tens of thousands low-income children and youth facing multiple risk factors, including living in single parent families, involved with the child welfare or criminal justice systems, or living below the poverty line (Annie E. Casey KIDS COUNT Data Center, 2014). In Philadelphia, over 50% of youth under the age of 18 are living in a single parent household and nearly 37% are living below the poverty level. In 2013, 4,900 had a juvenile court delinquency disposition (Annie E. Casey KIDS COUNT Data Center, 2013-2014). These youth are more likely to experience poor life outcomes such as substance abuse, teen pregnancy, high school drop-out, peer-to-peer violence, and incarceration (KIDS COUNT Data Book, 2014). Research studies have shown that having a caring, committed adult mentor helps at-risk youth to overcome obstacles, avoid risky behaviors, and envision a successful future (Lerner, Brittian, and Fay. Mentoring: A Key Resource for Promoting Positive Youth Development. MENTOR, 2007). However, only a small proportion of these youth are engaged with a mentor. In a 2005 study, MENTOR: National Mentoring Partnership identified a significant “mentoring gap”: nationally, only 14% of at-risk youth were in formal, one-to-one mentoring relationships (Mentoring in America 2005: A Snapshot of the Current State of Mentoring. MENTOR, 2005). Despite the presence of many active youth mentoring organizations, including BBBS SEPA, many of our region’s most vulnerable youth still lack an adult mentor. For example, there are approximately 300,000 youth in need of mentoring services in the 5 county Southeastern PA region, but only 10,000-15,000 of them are receiving mentoring services. In particular, there is a significant unmet need for mentoring among low-income boys of color. The Mentoring Partnership & Resource Center (MPRC) aims to prepare organizations to serve the needs of these youth, or empower organizations to refer among themselves if they cannot serve the needs of a client. With the additional support provided by the Partnership Liaison, the MPRC will build mentoring agencies’ collective capacity to provide quality mentoring services to greater numbers of low-income, at-risk youth in our region.
How the agency addresses this need, and how the new capacity created by this fellow will help alleviate the problem:
The Philly Fellow will play an instrumental role in supporting the continued development of the MPRC, which is in turn working to build capacity for dozens of mentoring organizations in the region. The Partnership Liaison will be responsible for providing support in planning and executing multiple networking and convening event throughout the year. While there are over 130 youth mentoring agencies in Southeastern PA, there was no umbrella organization to serve the needs of these organizations until early 2015. The MPRC is focused on building the capacity of mentoring organizations to serve more youth with evidence-based practices, leading to improved outcomes in the following areas: 1) Education – improved school attendance, academic achievement, and graduation rates; 2) Safety – enhanced skills in nonviolent conflict resolution and harm reduction; and 3) Behavioral health – improved self-esteem and self-confidence. All of these outcomes will contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty for at-risk youth.
The organization’s experience operating anti-poverty programming of this nature:
BBBS SEPA has 100 years of experience providing quality one-to-one mentoring to at-risk youth. Over the years, we have adapted our proven service delivery model to target the needs of special populations, including children with incarcerated parents, youth involved in the juvenile justice system, and victims of peer-to-peer violence. A large majority of the children and youth we serve live at or below 200% of the poverty line. Many live in under-resourced urban neighborhoods and attend struggling public schools. We provide extensive training to our volunteer mentors on the unique life challenges faced by low-income children and families. Our training includes modules on cultural competence, trauma-informed practices, advocacy, crisis intervention, and partnering with parents and other family members. Additionally, MPRC is an affiliate of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, which celebrated 25 years in November 2015. MENTOR’s mission is to fuel the quality and quantity of mentoring relationships for America’s young people and to close the mentoring gap for the one in three young people growing up without this critical support. MENTOR supports 26 affiliates nationwide, including MPRC. The combined history and service delivery models of BBBS SEPA and MENTOR make us well-equipped to advance the anti-poverty mission of the Philly Fellows program.
Fellow orientation plan:
The Partnership Liaison will participate in a comprehensive, week-long Agency new hire orientation led by the BBBS SEPA Human Resources department, including in-person and online training modules in agency history, policies and procedures, organizational structure, programs and services, child safety, diversity, and more. The Fellow will also receive direct on-the-job orientation and training from her/his supervisor during the first two weeks of employment, including building an understanding of the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring.
Name and title of the fellow’s immediate supervisor:
Abigail Ellis, Executive Director, Mentoring Partnership & Resource Center
Plans for supervision of the fellow:
The Partnership Liaison will report directly to the Executive Director of the Mentoring Partnership & Resource Center. There will be regularly scheduled, weekly 1-to-1 supervision meetings as well as ongoing daily task supervision and collaboration.
Will fellow be working at the same address listed above?
Will the fellow have their own…
Office? Fellow will not be provided with Desk? Fellow will have their own Computer? Fellow will have their own
The approximate percentage of time the fellow will work…
As a team member in a group setting 30%
As a team leader in a group setting 20%
Will the fellow be expected to travel as part of the position? Yes
If so, how often and where? The Fellow will be expected to travel regionally in eastern Pennsylvania several times per month to meet with various youth mentoring organizations.
Will the fellow need the following to carry out the position…
A driver’s license? Yes
Their own car? Yes