Justin Foranzo, Open Field’s founder, is one of eight fellows selected for the National Mentoring Summit. Created 30 years ago, MENTOR was created on the belief that potential is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. Committed to diversity and inclusion, MENTOR believes mentoring unites us across lines of difference and systemic inequities. They have seen a 10x increase in young people in structured mentoring relationships. MENTOR strives to close the mentoring gap and meet young people where they are to connect and fuel opportunity.

Justin will be participating in the National Mentoring Summit as one of eight fellows selected from across the country. He has the opportunity to learn and network with other mentors. As a Summit fellow, Open Field will receive a $1,000 mentoring programming grant and access to exclusive networking and promotional opportunities. 

Check out our Q&A with Justin to see what this opportunity means to him.

Q: What is the significance of the National Mentoring Summit?

A: MENTOR is the national organization that hosts the event every year and brings thought leaders from across the country together to share best practices and learn about emerging issues, data, and support for mentoring programs. Since Open Field focuses on building healthy relationships between coach mentors and youth participants, it’s important for us to participate in this kind of gathering of the minds. 

Q: How does it feel to be one of eight fellows from all over the country?

A: It is a real honor and privilege to be selected from a national pool of applicants. Not only will I learn and network with peers from across the country, Open Field will receive a $1,000 grant to support our after-school programming. 

Q: What do you hope to gain from this Summit?

A: I intend to learn a lot and apply new tactics in the design of our 2021 programming. We’re about to begin recruiting coach mentors for our Pittsburgh programs, so I know I will begin that effort inspired with some fresh ideas!

Q: What are you most excited about?

A: What excites me about participating in MENTOR is the opportunity to learn from the best in the field.

Q: How do you think this will benefit what you do with Open Field?

A: We have been fortunate to work with The Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern PA for many years. This partnership has brought us Technical Assistance grants to support program design, monitoring, and evaluation as well as countless workshops, emails of encouragement, and fun along the way. I believe that participating in the MENTOR Summit will not only bring Open Field, TMP, and MENTOR closer together, but it will also build upon the learning of the last few years to improve our programming for youth in Pittsburgh and around the world.