2013 Innovation & Leadership Finalist
Nominated by Serve Delaware
Connecting Generations is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization offering the programs Creative Mentoring and Seasons of Respect. It is Delaware’s resource for mentoring and other intergenerational programs. Its mission is to connect generations in ways that help Delaware’s children and adults lead purposeful, fulfilling, and self-directed lives. Creative Mentoring provides support to site-based mentoring programs throughout Delaware with standardized mentoring program materials, recruitment support, mentor application processing and screening, and mentor training. In 2010, and the subsequent years, Connecting Generations applied for and was awarded an AmeriCorps grant. The Connecting Generations’ AmeriCorps Youth Ambassador Program supports the Creative Mentoring program.
Connecting Generations’ AmeriCorps Youth Ambassadors serve as Mentor Coordinators at site-based programs in Kent and New Castle Counties. In the most recent Delaware Mentoring Council survey there were 39,571 students in need of a mentor and only 3,619 students with mentors. Schools are unable to provide mentors for students because of the lack of time and internal resources, including mentor coordinators, and a problem with mentor recruitment. The members are tasked with establishing, or continuing to develop an existing Creative Mentoring program, ensuring the programs follow the Elements of Effective Practice of MENTOR. In addition, members recruit mentors, ensure that they are properly screened and trained, match mentors to students, and provide daily support to mentors, students, and administrators.
Our mentors have allowed our students to grow and work towards their potential. The AmeriCorps member who has been assigned to our site has allowed our program to grow from [just a few] mentors in 2010/11 to over 130 during the 2011/12 school year. Having high school students mentoring our elementary students has been beneficial to both groups. Our only regret is that we can’t grow fast enough to get mentors for all of the children that want them!” — Eric Mathis, Principal of Richardson Park Elementary School
Since inception in 2010, the AmeriCorps Youth Ambassador program has recruited, matched, and supported over 1,126 mentoring pairs. To date, they have had 23 people from across the country serve over 40,000 hours with the program in 18 different schools across Delaware. Data from last program year shows 91% of the students in the Youth Ambassador mentoring programs improved their Delaware standardized reading test scores and 88 % increased their Delaware standardized math test scores program wide as well as over a 52% increase in attendance.