AGBU Generation Next Receives $500,000 DOE Grant & Participates in National Mentoring Dialogue

Gen_Next_Event_01 (Small) This year, the longstanding work of AGBU Generation Next Mentorship
Program was recognized by an award of $500,000.00 from the U.S.
Department of Education (DOE). The DOE grant has enabled Generation Next
to hire two new case managers who will facilitate the relationship
between mentors and mentees and help connect mentees to other services
available in the community.
Many long-term studies on mentoring, such as the landmark Big Brothers
Big Sisters Public Private Ventures study (BBBS PPV) of 1995, have found
that mentoring is only an effective model when certain conditions are
met: “In our judgment, the positive impacts observed are unlikely to
have occurred without both the relationship with the mentor and the
support the program provided the match.” The report touted the BBBS
model, “which consisted of one-to-one interaction with an adult
volunteer…supported by a professional casework staff that followed a
detailed sequence of operational standards designed to promote a
positive match.”
Until recently, Generation Next supported each mentoring match through
volunteer case managers. Through the help of nine volunteers, the
program was able to provide a strong support structure for mentoring
matches but was limited to roughly 65 pairs in terms of growth. With the
new professional case managers on board, Generation Next will be able to
support more than double that amount of mentoring matches and provide a
wider array of services to mentees.
In addition to the grant’s enormous impact on the program’s services and
general growth, the award speaks volumes to AGBU Generation Next’s
credibility. Dr. Nicole E. Vartanian, a Senior Advisor for Academic
Planning at Hunter College in New York, comments, “This really shows an
impressive vote of confidence in the sophistication and maturity of the
work Generation Next is doing.”
The grant will be providing 54% of the total funds used in the program’s
new growth phase. The half million dollars will be used over the next
three years mainly to provide for new staff and increase the program’s
capacity to serve more youth. The remainder of the program’s budget,
which amounts to approximately $140,000 annually, is provided mainly
through charitable donations to AGBU.
Additionally, Generation Next’s Task Force Committee or board raises
funds locally and procures in-kind donations. This year’s 6th Annual
Artistic Showcase was sponsored by California Pizza Kitchen, which
provided complimentary food for the 140 attendees.
In other exciting news, for the first time ever, Generation Next was
chosen to participate in the highly prestigious Portland State
University’s Summer Mentoring Institute. This is a great honor for the
small mentoring program, since only 25 programs are chosen from across
the country to participate in this national-level research seminar.
Program director Ara Arzumanian will be attending the event in Portland,
Oregon this summer to represent Generation Next. Arzumanian sums up
their progress as such: “Basically, over the last two years we’ve
tripled the amount of youth we serve, doubled our budget and doubled our
staff. By the time we implement all the facets of this grant, we’ll be
serving 150 youth; that’s up from 22 only two years ago. We work closely
with the schools, we have a dedicated group of volunteers and an amazing
group of luminous kids.”
A strong working relationship with the Glendale Unified School District
(GUSD) is at the heart of Generation Next’s success. That relationship
began with GenNext’s founding, and continues to the present day. The
close relationship with the schools was a big plus in the grant
application which was lead-authored by Arzumanian and co-authored by
program coordinator, Nora Ayvazian. Generation Next also participates in
the Violence Prevention committees of both Toll and Roosevelt middle
schools in Glendale. Additionally, Arzumanian was recently elected to
head the GUSD’s Healthy Start Collaborative-a state-mandated body that
meets monthly to bring together all the service providers working with
youth in the GUSD. Alice Petrossian, GUSD Assistant Superintendent of
Educational Services, affirms the importance of the program’s
relationship with the schools: “The creation of the mentor program is a
tribute to the young AGBU professionals who wanted to help young
Armenians and show them a better way of life. [They] have succeeded;
[they] have literally saved the lives of many troubled students in
GUSD.”
In addition to school support, many parents regularly laud the program’s
impact and accomplishments. “I am a proud mother of an AGBU mentee. I
cannot begin to explain what a productive, helpful and positive
organization AGBU is. My son has been a part of Generation Next for a
year now and we have seen outstanding improvements in his personality
and behavior. Thanks to the generous grants and donations the program
has received, my son and many other lucky participants are open to
endless opportunities. All the words in the world cannot describe how
grateful we are for this wonderful organization,” explains Mineh
Aghayani, a Generation Next mother.
The two new professional case managers have already begun working with
the schools and facilitating mentoring relationships-working directly
with mentors and mentees. Besides their primary case management
responsibilities, they will also be focusing on reaching out to students
in the district that may benefit from mentoring and will be recruiting
qualified new mentors. Arzumanian comments: “As I always say, if you’re
willing to give a little of your time and step up and become part of
your community, give us a call. We’re always looking for strong, caring
men and women to take on the challenge and privilege of mentoring our
kids.”
To make a donation to AGBU Generation Next, please visit their homepage
(www.agbugennext.org) and make a fast and secure donation using Paypal.
For more information about the program, please contact AGBU Generation
Next Mentorship by e-mail, info@agbugennext.org, or phone, 626-794-7942.

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