The 14th annual Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring (SIYM) was held for the first time again in person this year from July 24-27, 2023 at Portland State University and was hosted by the Center for Internships, Mentoring & Research at Portland State University, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, and MENTOR Canada. The Summer Institute welcomed 30 selected participants from across the United States, Canada, Spain, and Australia; representing a diverse group of agencies, mentoring programs, and populations served. Among the selected participants was Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona’s Tribal Partnership Coordinator/Sr. Program Specialist, Bobbi Rose Nez.
The Summer Institute’s theme this year was “Mentoring to Address Loneliness and Social Isolation and Promote Inclusion and Belonging” which was especially relevant for many of our youth experiencing loneliness and social isolation during and post-pandemic. The Institute provided a unique educational opportunity for all in attendance where leading scholars and researchers shared their expertise and research on youth mentoring with experienced mentoring professionals throughout the week, resulting in critical conversations around policies, practices, and program innovation. Additionally, the Institute hosted a poster presentation evening for participants to share and learn about one another’s respective agencies and services, a midweek program dinner, and a closing ceremony on the last day. Participants were also able to explore the unique city of Portland where the Summit was held.
Nez felt she was able to add to the Institute and conversation by sharing her 20+ years of experience and background in the youth prevention and mentoring field; including working with Native American programming, partnership development, youth with incarcerated parents, and site-based mentoring programs.
“It was re-energizing and inspiring to be among researchers and other professionals putting in the time, energy, work, and heart for our young people. I met incredible new friends and colleagues to expand my network and learned valuable information to share and implement. I am glad I applied and grateful to have attended, thank you to my agency for supporting me in this opportunity!”