Leader Academy (MPLA)

This program is for youth living in the Darbo-Worthington neighborhood on Madison’s east side. Group discussions and activities are based on the DESSA, which is a nationally standardized behavior rating scale that assesses youth’s social and emotional competence. The MPLA program also offers multiple AAUU basketball teams to learn about and practice social and emotional competence on the court as well as in the group setting.

Mentoring Positives University

This program is targeted at those youth who may be on the verge of being or are already involved in the juvenile justice system. Youth participate in discussions/activities based on the evidence-based 40 Developmental Assets curriculum (through the Search Institute) as well as a more intensive curriculum that assists them in developing a strong sense of self through social and emotional learning, building resiliency, and encouraging good decision-making. Muriel’s Plate, our culinary experience where local guest chefs teach culinary and hospitality skills to our youth who then cook for and serve the community, falls under Mentoring Positives University.

Off the Block Enterprises

When Will and Becky Green founded Mentoring Positives in 2004 as a way to serve at-risk Dane County youth, they didn’t have urban agriculture in mind as a means of accomplishing that goal. What started as an east-side Madison gardening project has become a big part of the Greens’ mentoring program. Program participants initially nurtured an acre of land to grow tomatoes and peppers to produce their unique salsa. The youth involved branded the product “Off the Block” salsa because they saw the project as a way to keep them out of trouble in their neighborhood. The name also represented their hopes of getting “off their block” in the Darbo-Worthington Park Neighborhood on Madison’s east side.