A national nonprofit organization that advocates for youth mentoring will expand to Milwaukee as part of a joint effort by the Milwaukee Bucks, city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee Public Schools.
The three organizations announced today they are spearheading the new program, called MENTOR Greater Milwaukee, which will be an affiliate of the MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership network.
The Milwaukee program, which is the 26th affiliate of the national network, will increase existing mentoring programs’ capacity, provide technical assistance and training, raise awareness for the need of mentors and coalesce stakeholders – including businesses, government, schools, faith communities and nonprofits – around those goals, according to the joint announcement.
A search is currently underway for an executive director to lead the new organization.
“MENTOR Greater Milwaukee will bring a surge of mentors into our schools with real potential to connect with students, help to improve their academic achievement and attendance, and inspire them to pursue their goals,” said Darienne Driver, superintendent of MPS. “We believe mentors can help inspire our students and we are extremely excited about having been at the ground level of building this important opportunity for MPS students.”
Young people who have mentors are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college, engage in extracurricular activities and sports, and volunteer, the organizations said in the announcement.
The NBA has partnered with MENTOR in recent years as part of President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which aimed to address opportunity gaps among young men of color. In 2014, the NBA launched an initiative to recruit 25,000 new mentors over five years, and after hitting that goal within 18 months, vowed to recruit an additional 25,000 mentors, said Bucks president Peter Feigin.
“The Milwaukee Bucks are huge believers in the power of mentoring, because the data shows that mentoring works,” Feigin said. “We know that the best work is done in partnership, and that is why we are eager to collaborate with the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee Public Schools to help launch MGM, which will work to ensure that all youth in Milwaukee have access to a quality mentor or mentoring program.”