Mentoring Positives offers a comprehensive suite of mentoring services designed to bolster leadership and social skills, self-confidence, and to empower youth to develop and enhance their social and emotional learning and well-being. Programming is set in the community for engaging, meaningful relationship building for youth to practice the skills they are cultivating.
MP Leader Academy
This program is for youth living in Darbo/Worthington Park, on Madison’s east side. Group discussion/activities are based on the DESSA, which is a nationally standardized behavior rating scale that assesses students’ social and emotional competence. Mentoring Positives’ programming is based on the philosophy that “The Hook is the Key”: engage youth with activities they love, encourage them to show compassion and build positive relationships with others, then practice leadership skills and display their continued social and emotional learning.
This program is targeted to those youth may be on the verge, or involved in the juvenile justice system. Youth participate in discussion/activities based on the evidence-based 40 Developmental Assets curriculum (through the Search Institute) as well as a more intensive curriculum that assists the youth in developing a strong sense of self through social/emotional learning, building resiliency and encouraging good decision-making.
Off the Block Enterprise
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. Due to increase demand for the salsa, MP currently outsources the salsa to a small production company in Sister Bay, WI We are currently developing a plan to bring our salsa production back to Madison.
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.
Off the Block Pizza started as a way to expand our social entrepreneurship venture and bring another great product to market under the Off the Block label. Our pizza recipe was developed by our youth participants, in partnership with the University of Wisconsin Extension. We began offering Off the Block Pizza Internships in the summer of 2017 to not only provide paid employment to youth but to also provide real-world business and food science experience to our youth participants. We currently offer a number of different pizzas, on white and wheat crust.