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SUSTAINING A MOVEMENT THAT NURTURES POWERFUL MENTORING RELATIONSHIPS

According to our friend and colleague, Susan Weinberger, affectionately known as Dr. Mentor, the single most important event in the history of youth mentoring, was the Presidents' Summit on America's Future held in Philadelphia, PA in April 1997. Hosted by President Bill Clinton, this conference lead to a nationwide commitment to the mentoring of young people.

[Common Ground President] Craig Bowman . . . served President Clinton as a part of the very small design team that developed 1993's Summer of Service, the official beginning of AmeriCorps.

By that time, Common Ground's President, Craig Bowman, had already served President Clinton as a part of the very small design team that developed the 1993 Summer of Service, the official beginning of AmeriCorps. As the youngest member of the design team, he felt a tremendous responsibility to honor the ideals and the values that represented the spirit and power of national and community service. He was there as a part of the group of young people who coined the name AmeriCorps; he served as the Chair of Young People for National Service, an advocacy effort to secure Congressional support and funding for AmeriCorps; and he was there in the Rose Garden when bipartisan support officially made AmeriCorps a part of the fabric of our national identity.

Shortly after the Presidents' Summit, Common Ground Consulting began a long-term relationship with the two primary technical assistance providers offering help to the majority of government-funded youth mentoring programs in the U.S. Working first through the Portland-based National Mentoring Center (NMC), funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and then later through the Department of Education, these partnerships continue to include strategic advice, conference training, on-site technical assistance, and significant evaluation and technical writing projects.

We have participated as keynote speakers, lecturers, and technical assistance providers at more than 35 regional mentor training conferences all around the country since 1997. We contributed significantly to the development of the nation's first national mentor training curriculum, working closely with Public Private Ventures and the National Mentoring Center; and have served as a member of the NMC's Cadre of Experts, providing on-site technical assistance, teleconference lectures, and targeted resource materials.


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