MCC receives grant from Mott Foundation for mentoring program pilot

FLINT, Michigan — The positive impact a mentor can have on youth can be truly life-changing. Local youth in the Greater Flint community will have a chance to connect with even more mentors and role models now, thanks to a $250,000 grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The Mentoring and Leadership Make a Difference (MLMD) is a two-year pilot program at Mott Community College. 

Robert Matthews, associate vice president for Workforce and Economic Development at Mott Community College, works on employment and training efforts at the school. Matthews says the MLMD program started during the pandemic, and this is a renewal grant to that program. 

“The origins of it really have a lot to do with our ongoing work and partnership with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation,” he says. “Throughout the pandemic, based upon a number of conversations, they had expressed an interest in doing some additional work or trying to find ways to support organizations that were working with young people through Flint and Genesee County. We were aware of a number of organizations that were doing work and they asked if the college would be willing to serve in a fiscal administrative capacity for a grant that could be awarded to the organizations.”

Five mentoring groups were identified, including the Michigan Public Health Youth Academy, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Flint, The Akettes Youth Group of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Delta GEMS of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and the Alpha Esquires Mentoring and Leadership program of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

The MLMD program aims to promote college, careers, and connections by supporting leaders and mentors of color for youth of color. It will focus on providing support for activities and projects for each group, offer consulting services, and provide effective monitoring practices. 

In a press release, MCC President Dr. Beverly Walker-Griffea says, “The need for better educational and economic opportunities in this area has reached a critical juncture. Mott Community College is committed to being a central force in the efforts to assist the residents of this region by educating and preparing them to live better lives. Toward this end, the college recognizes the importance of collaborating with local organizations that support the growth and development of youth in positive ways in our community through mentoring relationships and leadership opportunities.”

Given the college’s Workforce and Economic Development Division’s work with youth in the community, Matthews says signing on as the fiscal lead and providing administrative oversight was a good fit for an even greater cause.

“It’s absolutely critical for young people,” he says. “ A caring adult has the ability to change the trajectory of a young person’s life. While so many young people get that support at home, it helps to have others who are also willing to invest time in and to provide support and advice for young people. These programs identified are all doing that type of work. While individually, they’ve been doing excellent things, there is an opportunity to really begin to establish a community of practice amongst these five groups.”

The community organizations will collaborate and combine efforts and energies across the board to increase community-wide impact. Matthews says some events and programming are already taking place with scheduled events planned for Dr. Martin Luther King weekend. 

Matthews hopes the program can increase mentoring efforts amongst the organizations, but can also inspire youth participating in the mentoring program. He hopes to see fellow youth driven to host their own signature events and activities, making a positive impact on their peers and the community at large. 
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.