By Whitney Mastin

In November 2013, Midlands Mentoring Partnership (MMP) welcomed Joslyn Art Museum’s Kent Bellows Mentoring Program as its newest Partner Member.  MMP is thrilled to have this unique, arts-focused mentoring program as a member.

The MMP membership process can take a number of months.  In order to become a Partner Member of MMP, an organization must go through a peer-review process and compile a binder of materials to demonstrate they are meeting or exceeding the best practices for mentoring, as outlined in the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring, 3rd Edition.

The Elements of Effective Practice includes standards for the recruitment of appropriate mentors and mentees, screening of mentors, training of mentors, mentees and their families, matching of mentors and mentees, monitoring and support of the match, and appropriate closure of the match.  These standards are essential to achieving the positive outcomes of mentees, including increased academic achievement, improved attendance, and increased 21st century skill development.

Once the Partner Member binder is completed, it is reviewed by the Policy Committee, which is composed of representatives from four current Partner Member organizations.  After the binder is approved by the Policy Committee, it goes to the entire Providers Council for a vote. MMP Providers Council President and Policy Committee Member, Sheryl Lindau, who represents Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands, adds, “All prospective members go through a rather arduous process to complete their Partner Member binder before being approved for membership. We believe this is a beneficial exercise for not only the applicant, but also serves to educate existing member programs regarding the scope of mentoring services to be provided by the new member.”

Weston Thomson, Interim Executive Director of Kent Bellows Mentoring Program, shares his experience about the process, “Preparing our application materials for MMP brought our staff together and helped us focus on the fundamental aspects of our mentoring program.  It challenged us to share about the program in a more thorough and comprehensive manner.”

Weston and the team at Kent Bellows Mentoring Program were engaged in the process of compiling their Partner Member binder for a period of six months.  As a Partner Member, they are now eligible for training and technical assistance opportunities, background check support, professional development opportunities, and data collection and evaluation support all through MMP.

For more information on the Midlands Mentoring Partnership membership process, please contact Whitney Mastin at wmastin@mmpomaha.org.

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