Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Elizabeth Edwards Foundation Attends National Mentoring Summit in Washington, DC

The Elizabeth Edwards Foundation, through its President, Cate Edwards, participated in the 2012 National Mentoring Summit over the last two days in Washington, D.C.  We connected with other organizations working the mentoring field, learned about the latest research and best practices in mentoring, and heard inspiring stories about the impact mentors can have on the lives of young people.

We started the summit with moving speeches about the importance of mentoring programs like ours for changing the lives of "opportunity youth," young people whose futures have been dimmed by difficult life circumstances.  While opportunity youth harbor great potential to make a difference in the world,  they lack critical support and consistent care of an adult in their lives.  A mentor can fill that void, giving that young person the advice, trust, and self-confidence to succeed.

On Day One, we learned that only 20% of low-income youth are adequately prepared for college, but the chances of beating those odds dramatically increase when a mentor steps in.  We also heard the latest research for best practices in the field, reiterating that the quality and length of a mentoring relationship is critical to a program's effectiveness.  On Day Two, we received toolkits for helping opportunity youth envision & get to college and start to develop their own career goals.  We also learned a lot about community partnerships and use of technology to innovate mentor relationships. We left fully energized and empowered to make mentoring work for our Elizabeth Fellows.

We would like to thank the hosts of the Summit for putting on a wonderful event, filled with valuable information and inspiring passion for this work: MENTOR National Mentoring Partnership, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Corporation for National & Community Service, Harvard School of Public Health, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention & United Way.

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