While launching our updated mission and vision statements in January 2021 we realized that we needed to be held actively accountable to these statements by opening ourselves up to feedback, critique, and ideas in new and regular ways. We cannot fulfill our mission and vision without listening to our community members.
As we dream past these pandemic days, anticipating new challenges and opportunities, we launched a new Community Listening Survey as a step in creating a regular cycle of public feedback on our work, and giving power to the community to speak into where we will direct our resources and which projects we will prioritize.
- In three weeks we received nearly 100 public submissions;
- 22% of which came directly from families with students receiving mentoring; and
- 34% of which were from current or past mentors.
We acknowledge and validate that simply collecting public survey data is not enough, and is regularly used to give organizations credibility while continuing with their own agendas, and/or to strip the wisdom and learned experience from community members without acknowledgement or compensation.
Therefore, we commit to the following standards and invite you to tell us if we are not holding ourselves accountable to them:
- To take all feedback seriously;
- To review all feedback equitably, giving the highest regard to the ideas and opinions of those most directly impacted by our work;
- To view all feedback and experiences as valid and true, never dismissing someone because they hold a different experience than someone else or even the majority;
- To consistently and regularly find opportunities to adjust and direct our programming as requested by the community;
- To regularly pair our own explanation of our work alongside the community’s evaluation of our work, including critique;
- To work to avoid exploiting community wisdom and talent without compensation by being clear about the use of research, how it will impact the community, what we intend to do with data, and offering compensation for expertise whenever possible;
- To never assume that we are experts in someone else’s life experience, but to allow each person to be the expert of their own experience.
We are grateful for our community and feel honored to be able to partner alongside organizations, community members, schools, families, and students towards more equitable futures for young people.
We are committed to building and maintaining a sustainable, high quality mentoring program that positively impacts our community. We value openness and transparency in our work – to see all of our annual reports, audited financial statements, and any other pertinent materials visit our Impact + Reports page.