National Mentoring Resource Center Blog

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Engaging the Faith Community through Shared Intentions

SEPTEMBER 19, 2017
Engaging the Faith Community through Shared Intentions

Faith and spirituality are known to be key protective factors for youth, particularly those who have been, or are at risk of being sexually exploited (Countryman-Roswurm, 2012). In serving young people, naming the value of someone’s relationship with the Universe/God/Spirit/Higher Power, and how they see it is a powerful part of many interventions and should be given space in the mentoring world. The faith-community has been a long-time supporter of mentoring efforts, as well as in joining the fight against human trafficking and supporting victims of sexual exploitation. Integrating spirituality is an important aspect of holistic services and the faith community offers much as a community resource.

Understanding the difference between spirituality and religion can be helpful as you consider how to incorporate spirituality into services for survivors of CSEC and other youth at risk. It is not about elevating one religion over another or insisting that program participants associate with a certain religion. Rather, it is about helping them to explore, understand and express their own views on spirituality.

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National Quality Mentoring System: A Time-Saver for a Busy Executive Director

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017


Editor’s Note: This post is about the National Quality Mentoring System (NQMS), which provides a structured, systematic process for assessing the quality of a mentoring program’s practices in alignment with the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™, Fourth Edition (EEPM). The NQMS is facilitated by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and state and local MENTOR affiliates, who assist programs in identifying existing quality practices, acknowledging areas for improvement, and developing action plans to meet national standards, while providing ongoing training and support to achieve program goals. Learn more about NQMS here.

“There are never enough hours in the day!”  This is something I’ve said a million times. There is NEVER.ENOUGH.TIME. I am a Virgo so it goes without saying I am over organized and extremely type A to a fault. Managing Project Friendship (local mentoring organization in Northfield, MN, matching 2nd - 7th graders with college students) as the part-time Executive Director, there is always something on my to do lists (yes, I have more than one list). From new matches, forms to approve, grants and their reports to write, complete the NQMS process… the list is always long.

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Research Alert: Cultural Intelligence and Ethnocentrism in Mentoring Relationships

AUGUST 29, 2017

Editor’s note: From time to time on the NMRC Blog we will cross-post announcements about new research studies on mentoring drawing from the research listserv run by NMRC Research Board Chair Dr. David DuBois. This is a snapshot about a recent study exploring the relationship between cultural intelligence and ethnocentrism in mentoring relationships.

A recent study published by Cheri A. Young, Badiah Haffejee, and David L. Corsun (May 2017) asks: Can one be ethnocentric and yet culturally intelligent at the same time? The researchers attempted to investigate the relationship between cultural intelligence and ethnocentrism in mentoring relationships, by analyzing data about mentoring relationships between primarily white, affluent, business school students who mentored refugees from Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia who had been resettled in the United States.

Ethnocentrism is defined as “the evaluation of other cultures according to preconceptions originating in the standards and customs of one's own culture.” Meanwhile, cultural Intelligence or CQ refers to “people’s knowledge about other cultures, their behavioral skills to act and respond in a culturally-appropriate manner across cultures, and their motivation and self-efficacy to interact and learn about other cultures.”

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The Role of a Mentor in the Lives of Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth

AUGUST 29, 2017

CSECThere is no doubt that mentors play a powerful role in the lives of youth who have been sexually exploited. Positive, supportive relationships can help these youth heal and achieve long-term prosperity. However, not every mentoring relationship results in growth or positive change. Far too often matches don’t mesh or relationships stall, leaving both mentor and mentee feeling tired and disappointed.

While there are a number of reasons that mentoring matches might not be successful (the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ provides tips on how to facilitate matches), there is a concerning trend in mentoring youth with a history of sexual exploitation - a rescue mentality. Unfortunately, the root of this problem lies in the misunderstanding of the mentor role. Far too often, mentors come into the relationship with the idea that they can “save” or “rescue” their mentee. Instead of coming alongside to empower their mentee, they make decisions for them. Instead of listening to their mentee, they make assumptions and snap judgements. This rescue mentality can cause mentors to act as if they know best, ultimately preventing the building of a trusting relationship. It can create an unhealthy power differential that survivors of exploitation may find triggering.

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Rethinking Self-Care: For Youth AND Allies Who Think They are “Too Tough or Busy”

AUGUST 22, 2017

“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” – Audre Lorde

I have never known another passion, another career. I imagine a combination of how I am “wired”, life experiences, and opportunity catapulted me into the world of human services. I have worked with youth and families in crisis for 35 years. Before joining WSU Center for Combating Human Trafficking as the Director of Program Development, I was in direct service—with the last 20 years coordinating services for runaway, homeless and trafficked youth ages 12-21.

If you asked me 3 years ago about self-care, I would have briefly talked about why it was important for staff, mentors, and youth in our program—I would not, however, have talked about my personal self-care plan. Even though I knew I was “stressed”, I didn’t think I was “fragile” enough to need a self-care plan. I was too busy. I just needed to “suck it up,” “pull myself up by my bootstraps” (as my dad would say), and keep going.

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