Friday, June 7, 2013

It Takes a Community: Inspiration from Promise Coaches

Last fall I was recruited to be a trainer for The Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern PA (TMP), an organization that "maximizes the opportunity for mentoring to transform the lives of young people so they may reach their full potential." TMP does this by helping other organizations develop mentoring programs and then offering ongoing support, e.g. by training mentors (that's where I get to come in!). One of the programs I've been supporting is the Promise Coaches Campaign, which "aims to create a college going culture in the City of Pittsburgh by empowering adults to help youth earn a high school diploma and succeed in college and careers.

As a Promise Coach trainer, I get to be in rooms full of Pittsburgh community members who are passionate about supporting the dreams, goals, and futures of our youth. They are parents, coaches, mentors, ministers, and neighbors and they all believe that each and every Pittsburgh student has the potential to graduate from high school and continue beyond to a fulfilling career and life. I have to tell you, being around that kind of energy is pretty amazing.

What inspires me the most about the Promise Coaches I encounter is their commitment to make a difference in the community by responding to the young people in their lives with support and empathy. The Promise Coach training offers information on graduating from high school, planning for life after graduation, and acquiring the the skills necessary to success. It also addresses the active listening skills necessary to having reflective and effective key conversations with youth about staying on track and planning for the future. (And all that in just 90 minutes!)

The vision of the Promise Coaches Campaign is that "all Pittsburgh youth will have at least one supportive, knowledgeable adult who can coach them to succeed in high school, college, and careers. One person at a time, the Promise Coaches are contributing to the kind of empathetic, dedicated community we need to cultivate and inspire the next generation.

Well, I'm inspired. How about you? If mentoring youth is something that interests you (and be assured - the need for your presence and empathy is huge!), why not look into an opportunity right now? If you're in Pittsburgh, come to a 90-minute Promise Coach training (groups with 20-25 interested trainees can even host their own training) or visit TMP's program search for another mentoring program that fits your interests. Or you can visit the National Mentoring Partnership's site and find out how to become a mentor in your area.

To build the world of our dreams, it takes a community and that starts with you!

The Pittsburgh Promise Campaign was created through a partnership between:

Additionally, several "Anchor Agencies" committed to hosting workshops to recruit and train 100 promise coaches within the year. The 2013 Anchor Agencies are: 

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