RE-AMP Community Mentorship Program (Click for larger view)
Research and outreach for the RE-AMP Community Mentorship Program is in full swing as we enter July. From my experience at the RE-AMP annual meeting, reading survey responses and hearing from people during listening sessions, it is apparent that the RE-AMP community and young leaders are excited about the opportunity to collaborate across generations to build a stronger Midwest climate movement.
At the RE-AMP annual meeting, Andreas Merkl, from California Energy Association, gave us an alarming reminder about the importance of our work and the need for out of the box ideas. California Energy Association’s Midwest carbon analysis revealed that we need to step up our game if we want to avoid 650ppm. This analysis comes at a time when youth unemployment rates are record high, the environmental non-profit sector is facing a generation gap, and RE-AMP is making an intentional commitment to environmental justice and movement building.
Rick Reed, Senior Advisor to RE-AMP Steering Committee speaking at the RE-AMP Annual Meeting
Shalini Gupta and Dr. Cecilia Martinez from the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy presented some initial recommendations for incorporating environmental justice into the RE-AMP network based on their research. Among of the recommendations were things that many Midwest youth organizers have experience putting into practice. For example, Grand Aspirations has integrated social justice into their mission and participants in their Summer of Solutions programs undergo white privilege trainings and work to support leadership in frontline communities.
Given the challenge and opportunity that climate change poses, launching this mentorship program comes at a critical time. By deliberately investing and supporting a new generation of leaders through building relationships between young people and veteran staff, RE-AMP will be taking their investment in youth to a deeper level, and creating an opportunity for more profound results.
We currently have 25 people who have expressed interest in participating in this program and our initial feedback shows excitement from both sides around forming partnerships and common strategy between youth and established environmental nonprofits. Veteran staff want to work with young people who will offer enthusiasm, new perspectives and innovative ideas to the movement. On the flip side, young people are interested in working with veteran staff to learn from their experiences and skills.
In the coming months we will be continuing outreach, hosting listening sessions and evaluating other mentorship models and academic literature. In September, we will match participants along interest lines and launch the program. Abby Fenton, the RE-AMP Youth Coordinator, will support these mentorship relationships through May and the program will be evaluated in June.
If you are interested in participating in this program or are willing to share your opinion about mentorship experiences, please follow the appropriate link:
I am excited to see how this program will take the Midwest climate movement to the next level!