Wouldn’t you like to kick off your new year on a positive note, and learn about a concept that creates winners all the way around? January is National Mentoring Month, which means it is the perfect opportunity to learn about how mentoring works and how you can join this significant movement. The 2014 National Mentoring Summit, produced by MENTOR, takes place in Arlington, Virginia on January 30 and 31, 2014.


Source: YouthBuild NMA via Pinterest

According to David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR, 1 in 3 young people are reaching the age of 19 without having a mentor. However, those that do have mentors are proven to strive for and reach college, have higher self-esteem and make more positive decisions. This is exactly why MENTOR was started 20 years ago and has gone from 300,000 young people in mentoring programs to 4.5 million!

Whether or not you’re able to attend the Summit, you can take advantage of National Mentoring Month to educate yourself about mentoring and how it works in different environments. Music is fertile ground for mentoring, as we at Over My Shoulder Foundation believe. One of the core aspects of the field of music is collaboration. How often do you hear a musician cite his or her fellow musician influences? Recognizing that fact, it follows that mentoring and musicians fit together like fingers and piano keys.

David believes that mentoring is a very powerful tool and one that every young person should benefit from. We welcome you to learn more about becoming a mentor or mentee! Try to attend the 2014 National Mentoring Summit. Please contact me, Dawn Carroll, at the Over My Shoulder Foundation to learn how you can get involved in Designing the Next Generation, and for what you’ll gain when you embark on this rewarding path.



School: By Design gives students a chance to make a difference in their school. Source: nolaclutterbusters

Getting our youth involved in design mentoring programs is one of our goals with our Designing the Next Generation initiative, which is why we often use our blog as an opportunity to share mentoring success stories.

One unique program that we wanted to mention is School: By Design, which pairs under-served high school students up with mentors that are either in college or design professionals. Through this one-of-a-kind program, the students will collaborate with their mentors to redesign their schools, which will in turn expose them to architecture, industrial design, graphic design, environmental graphics, interactive design, illustration, and photography. Ultimately, these disciplines encourage creativity and new ways of thinking about things, which will be useful skills that the students will be able to use throughout their lives.

The overall goal of this six week program is to get the students thinking outside of the box about solutions to problems and challenges that currently exist within their schools and finding ways to address them. Together, the teams will work to develop solutions that not only will improve the quality of learning that students will receive in the classroom, but also in the local community as well.

To conclude the program, students will be able to exhibit their design plans in a public venue to help share their vision with peers, school administrators, and the local community. As mentors, there is so much that we can learn from this experience, and getting our youth involved and excited about the world of design is key to a successful future. To learn more about how you can participate in this program, please complete and submit the registration form to Worldstudio.

To learn more about design mentoring programs, please contact us at the Over My Shoulder Foundation! We also invite you to SHARE your mentoring success stories!




MuralWorks in the School teaches kids to express themselves through art. Source: victoriabernal

One of the more unique ways that a community has been able to engage youth and use teamwork as an opportunity to teach positive work ethic is through Minneapolis’s Mentoring Peace Through Art program. The mission of this program is to use art and neighborhood improvement projects as a way to serve the social needs of at-risk youth of diverse communities by putting them in real life situations of working together. As a result, the participants of the program will feel a sense of self-worth. Mentoring Peace Through Art offers two programs: MuralWorks in the Streets and MuralWorks in the Schools.

Through the MuralWorks in the Streets program, unpleasant gang graffiti is painted over with vibrant colors to make peaceful, positive images. The majority of the teens participating in the program have very limited experience with painting, so not only are they coming together to improve their community, but they’re learning together too. During the summer of 2012, the program engaged 80 teens in the community to paint 11 murals throughout Minneapolis.

Similar to the MuralWorks in the Streets program, MuralWorks in the School also uses art as an opportunity to teach teamwork to at-risk youth. The main difference is that MuralWorks in the School works with elementary school aged students in the classroom. Throughout the fall of 2012, this program worked with 90 third-graders at Evergreen Park World Cultures Community School to turn them into “education workers” and get them excited about art.

We are advocates of mentorship at the Over My Shoulder Foundation as we understand the positive outcomes that can result from these types of relationships. Please contact us to learn more about our organization and how to find a mentorship program in your community.



The work in Massachusetts proves how mentoring can lead to success. Source: Freedigitalphotos.net

For those seeking statewide mentoring programs in Massachusetts, the Mass Mentoring Partnership serves over 200 mentoring programs in the state in an effort to support youth in mentoring relationships. Like the Over My Shoulder Foundation, the Mass Mentoring Partnership is passionate about raising the awareness of the positive impact that mentoring can have on the younger generation and therefore has supported more than 30,000 youth statewide since its inception in 1992. Services that the Mass Mentoring Partnership offers include mentor-mentee match activities, mentor recruitment, professional development, and mentor training.

The program is dedicated to serving youth between the ages of 5 and 18 and partners with schools, religious organizations, local non-profits, and companies to provide one-on-one mentoring, group mentoring, and e-mentoring programs. The Mass Mentoring Partnership is actively seeking new mentors that are at least 21 years of age and can commit to at least 1 year of mentoring.

If you know that you want to help, but aren’t sure where to get started, the Mass Mentoring Partnership can help you to find a local  program that aligns with your interests and area of expertise. To do so, please visit the Mass Mentoring Partnership website and specify whether you would like to have the organization suggest programs for you or if you would prefer to complete your own search for local mentoring programs.

To learn more about the impact that a mentoring relationship can have on the rising generation and other statewide mentoring programs in Massachusetts, please contact us at the Over My Shoulder Foundation.