Youth Mentoring@100%: Innovation 1
Tracking Supply and Demand
The projects presented in the ten innovations areas are all designed to address barriers to vital services. Action teams should review all projects and prioritize those that have the best chance of addressing the barriers identified in the 100% New Mexico countywide survey. Your collaborative and result-focused local work is nothing less than heroic.
Project: Youth Mentoring.1.1
Project 1: The “all-important mentor programs analysis” project
Unlike other services like transport, we don’t track every single time somebody starts up with a mentor or when a mentorship ends.
No one number will give you a reasonably complete picture of the situation. But by gathering multiple data sources and tracking them over time, you should be able to get an idea of how much mentorship is happening in your community. Here’s your list:
- School districts: They may have data on students needing various forms of mentorship and accessing it.
- Youth shelters: Some may keep data on their residents seeking mentorship. Unlike the government, they’re not necessarily obligated to give you the data, but they probably will.
- Child welfare data: While not easy to acquire, there may be a way to access data on child clients needing a mentor. Because of the short-term living arrangements that kids in custody may live in, mentoring may be challenging. It’s still worth researching this area.
- Find data from the American Community Survey.
As mentioned, this won’t be as simple an assessment as the transport situation, but if you get these numbers, you could discern if the situation in your community is going in a good or bad direction.
Imagine a near future when all young residents have a youth pass — a plastic card or mobile app with barcode — that would be used for all forms of mentorship programs. Now imagine that an artificial intelligence (AI) program and friendly staffers analyze all this data from all county residents to identify high and low use and where gaps in mentoring services exist, offering recommendations for fixing gaps. In this project, you will be gathering as much data as you can to paint a picture of local mentoring in your county. This is the first step in identifying challenges.
Project: Youth Mentoring.1.2
Project 2: The “can you get there from here?” project
Good mentorship planners will figure out where young candidates for mentoring are concentrated and then plan service accordingly. A lot of mentorship programs, however, are good-hearted but pretty haphazard affairs that don’t perform much self assessment. Luckily, using census data, your own eyes and Google Maps, you can do it for them. First, learn how to do custom drawings on Google Maps (an internet search will lead to some tutorials). Looking at the American Community Survey, Google Earth satellite images and the results from your Resilient Community Experience Survey, can get you started.
Project: Youth Mentoring.1.3
Project 3: The “does our mentoring go where it should” project
Your mentorship system (notice the term “system,” as it should be one seamless system serving the entire county) should serve all residents, but especially your community’s most critical areas: communities with high rates of child welfare involvement, low income areas, areas with high unemployment, high schools with low achievement and high dropout rates. Find or make a map of the county, then make a map of all “high risk” areas and all mentorship programs. Then see how well those two maps overlap.
Also take a look at service frequency: are mentors being offered when the need is the highest? Whether mentors “serve” the most critical areas depends on more than what the map looks like.
One issue to tackle will be transportation. Mentors may well be the next town over from where the need is the greatest. Can you get there from your town? Often the answer is no, especially in places where state transit leaders have ceded their planning authority to county leaders. That may lead your action team to talk with the transportation action team (and possibly more teams).