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Helping Young People Find Their Spark

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Friends For Youth Conference, January 27-28, 2011. Day 2, Session 1. Presenter: April Riordan, Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota …

Friends For Youth Conference, January 27-28, 2011. Day 2, Session 1. Presenter: April Riordan, Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota

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  • Our mission is to lead the state in building and sustaining quality mentoring for every child.   The Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota’s (MPM) Training Institute offers technical assistance and training support to help start, maintain and sustain quality mentoring initiatives, and to prepare both mentors and mentees to make the most of their mentoring relationships. The Training Institute works with mentor programs, workplaces, professional associations and community collaborations, as well as educational, government and faith institutions, to ensure that they have the information and resources they need to support more young people and to enhance the mentoring experience for all.
  • Search Institute has been doing research on elements for healthy youth development for decades. You may have heard of the 40 Developmental Assets that have been used in communities and by mentors, parents and programs to pay attention to what kids need to grow up healthy. 20 of the 40 can be wrapped around young people from the outside and fall in these 4 categories. Highlight those that are directly impacted by mentoring.
  • The other 20 Developmental Assets are skills, values and beliefs that young people also need to fully engage with and function in the world around them. Youth can acquire these internal assets through observing others, learning the skills and having opportunities to practice these assets and reflect on them with thoughtful adults and peers. (MENTORS)
  • Sparks can change over time Young people need multiple champions; some to cheer, some to teach Expect “ups and downs” in the conversations A skill is not automatically a spark Our spark may not be our work
  • Responding to researchers, 31% of young people say they don’t currently have a spark. How can mentors begin the exploration process?
  • Sparks can change over time Young people need multiple champions; some to cheer, some to teach Expect “ups and downs” in the conversations A skill is not automatically a spark Our spark may not be our work
  • Sparks can change over time Young people need multiple champions; some to cheer, some to teach Expect “ups and downs” in the conversations A skill is not automatically a spark Our spark may not be our work
  • Transcript

    • 1. Building Deep and Sustained Relationships with Young People
    • 2. Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota
      • MPM IS THE DRIVING FORCE IN THE MENTORING MOVEMENT IN MINNESOTA. WE BRING TOGETHER DIVERSE INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANIZATIONS AROUND TWO STRATEGIC GOALS:
      • MPM will Increase Quality Mentoring in Minnesota
      • MPM is the Leading Champion of Quality Mentoring Across Minnesota
    • 3. External Assets Support Empowerment Boundaries and Expectations Constructive Use of Time
    • 4. Internal Assets Commitment to Learning Positive Values Social Competencies Positive Identity
    • 5. What is a Spark?
      • A special quality, skill, or interest that lights us up and that we are passionate about.
      • Something that comes from inside of us, and when we express it, it gives us joy and energy.
      • It’s our very essence, the thing about us that is “good and beautiful, and useful to the world.”
    • 6. What were your sparks? Who knew about them? Who was your Spark Champion?
    • 7.  
    • 8.
      • Nature, ecology, the environment Leading
      • Animal Welfare Athletics
      • Helping, serving, volunteering Reading
      • Spirituality or Religion Creative Arts
      • Committed to living in a specific way
      • (with joy, passion, caring, etc.)
      • Learning a subject matter like Science or History
    • 9. Search Institute’s Research
      • Gallup Poll of 2,000 12 to 17-year-olds and 2,000 of their parents
      • Online Poll conducted by Louis Harris polling firm with 1,000 11 to 17-year-olds
      • Interviews with 405 teens, ages 15-17
      • Continued assessment in individual communities
    • 10. Three Types of Sparks
      • Teens generally named three types of sparks:
        • Something they are good at – a talent or skill
        • Something they care deeply about – such as the environment or serving their community
        • A quality they know is special – caring for others or being a friend
    • 11. Results from Sparks Research
      • When youth know their spark and have several adults who support their spark, they are more likely to:
        • Have a sense of purpose
        • Be socially competent and physically healthy
        • Volunteer to help others
        • Have higher grades in school and better attendance
    • 12. Results from Sparks Research
      • Young people who know their spark and have several adults who support their spark are
      • less likely to:
        • Experience depression
        • Engage in acts of violence toward others
    • 13. Sparks Most Cited
        • Athletics
        • Creative arts
        • Nature, ecology, the environment
        • Learning a subject matter like science or history
        • Helping, serving, volunteering
        • Leading
        • Spirituality or religion
        • Reading
        • Committed to living in a specific way (with joy, passion, caring, etc.)
        • Animal welfare
    • 14. How many teenagers have sparks? 31% 69%
    • 15. The Challenge for Caring Adults
    • 16. The Critical Role of Mentors
      • Only 37 % can identify adults who know and support their spark. Mentors can play an important role in increasing this.
      • All young people should have an adult who:
          • sees their spark
          • affirms that spark
          • helps them explore their spark
    • 17. Maximize Your Impact – MPM Mentor Training
      • Build longer, stronger relationships
        • Focus on what is strong not what is wrong
        • Pay attention to what mentees would like for themselves – not just what we think they need
        • Teach and model skills to help young people carry their baggage better
    • 18. The Seven Essential Questions
      • What is your spark?
      • When and where do you show your spark?
      • Who knows your spark?
      • Who helps support your spark?
      • What gets in your way?
      • How can I help?
      • How can you use your spark to make our world better?
    • 19. Sparks in Action
      • I’m having a hard time connecting with my mentee. We don’t seem to have anything to talk about and he doesn’t share any ideas with me about things he would like to do when we are together.
    • 20. Talking with a Child About Sparks
      • Watch for signs of sparks -
      • “ You really seem to enjoy…”
      • Share your own sparks -
      • “ When I was your age, I was passionate about…”
      • Ask open-ended questions, and then listen –
      • “ What do you think your spark is?”
    • 21. Sparks in Action
      • My mentee’s goal is to become a famous singer… however, she can’t carry a tune at all!
    • 22. Spark Champions Can …
      • Affirm the spark
      • Encourage its expression
      • Model the spark
      • Provide opportunities to express it
      • Run interference and help eliminate obstacles
      • Teach or mentor
      • Show up (at recitals, games, performances, play, reading, contests)
    • 23. Tips for Sparks Champions
      • Sparks can change over time
      • Young people need multiple champions; some to cheer, some to teach
      • Expect “ups and downs” in the conversations
      • A skill is not automatically a spark
      • Our spark may not be our work
    • 24. Featured Resources
      • Sparks: How Parents Can Ignite the Hidden Strengths of Teenagers by Peter L. Benson
      • http://www.mpmn.org/Resources/SpecialTopics/Sparks.aspx MPM site with mentor-specific resources
      • www.IgniteSparks.org Download more resources
      • www.at15.com Youth-oriented resources based on Search Institute’s work
      • www.search-institute.org Search Institute’s web site and on-line catalog
    • 25. Quote from Alma Powell
      • “ It takes a spark to ignite the flame, that burning desire to succeed. We as mentors must ignite the spark that glows in our children as it sputters and comes to life…
    • 26. Quote from Alma Powell
      • As we provide our children with all the resources they need to grow into happy, healthy individuals capable of taking their place in the world, we must give them learning and growing experiences that provide that “spark,” that one thing that excites and intrigues them. Then we must support that interest and help it to flourish…
    • 27. Quote from Alma Powell
      • Our challenge is then to strike the flint that ignites the spark and then become the keepers of the flame. Feeding the fire, through our support and guidance, providing opportunities and experiences that let that flame grow until it is a glowing light—that can help illuminate the world.”