The first Hampden County Mentoring Summit was held on November 13, 2020. About 40 people who participate in mentoring in some way attended. The goals of the Summit were (1) Networking for organizations and individuals that do mentoring; (2) Skill building (e.g. Recruiting Mentors and Virtual Mentoring); and (3) To build a mentoring movement in Hampden County.
The Summit included speakers from Mass Mentoring Partnerships, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County, the Rennie Center, and an amazing presentation by Genesis Perez, who grew up in Springfield, has had mentors, and is now a mentor herself.
The Summit was sponsored and organized by 12 organizations, all of whom participate in the Hampden County Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) or the Young Adult Empowerment Collaborative. For these groups, mentoring is a strategy to reduce violence and substance use disorder among young people. The Hampden CHIP is co-convened by the Public Health Institute of Western MA and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. As of this writing, the CHIP has identified about 85 individuals in Hampden County who provide mentoring, either formally or informally. We are well on our way to building a mentoring movement!