Letter Calls on Congress to Prioritize Youth Services in Coronavirus Response Bills and Budget
Submitted by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership
More than a dozen national companies and foundations are urging Congress to remember youth-serving nonprofits as critical networks of support for children, families, and communities and prioritize them amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. MENTOR is calling on others to join these companies in asking Congress to remember organizations on the social frontlines as they continue to work on emergency and regular appropriations bills.
While adhering to guidance from government and health officials, and keeping the safety of staff, volunteers, and young people in mind, youth-serving nonprofits have adjusted programs and services to ensure that youth continue their critical relationships with mentors, tutors, counselors, and other youth-service workers. These relationships serve as connectors to help youth and families access essential services like food and health care, access to internet and technology to continue schooling, and ensure mentoring relationships continue virtually.
Not only do these organizations need further economic support to keep staff on payroll and their programs adjusted and running at this time, they will need to be prepared for young people to return to their programs when this public health crisis ends. These programs will provide much needed support, stability, and guidance to young people and their families as the country heals and moves forward. They will provide critical child care and before and afterschool and summer programming supporting learning losses due to school closures. They will allow young people who have not been able to access in-person connection access to their mentors, peers, and other caring adults. Others will allow young people to safely and fully engage in physical activity and sports after months of social isolation.
“Now more than ever, caring and consistent relationships are critical, and youth-serving programs are committed to addressing those needs for young people, mentors, families, and communities to combat isolation and disconnection,” said David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR. “We’re grateful for the partnership and support from companies and foundations across the country who consistently show up alongside us to provide purpose and belonging for young people and in this case, to join us in asking Congress to prioritize young people during this crisis and in our economic and social recovery.”
Companies and foundations interested in signing the letter to Congressional leaders can lend their names here. The deadline to sign on is Thursday, May 7.
MENTOR is the unifying champion for quality youth mentoring in the United States. Our mission is to expand the quality and quantity of mentoring relationships nationwide. Potential is equally distributed; Opportunity is not. A major driver of healthy development and opportunity is who you know and who is in your corner. 30 years ago, MENTOR was created to expand that opportunity for young people by building a youth mentoring field and movement. The result: a more than 10-fold increase in young people in structured mentoring relationships. Today, we are the expert voice activating a movement that is diverse and broad and seeps into every aspect of daily life – meeting young people everywhere they are from schools to workplaces and beyond.
MENTOR is the lead champion for youth mentoring in the United States. We serve young people between the ages of 6 and 18, and MENTOR's work over the last two decades has helped millions of young people find the support and guidance they need to build productive and meaningful lives.