Pignatelli Honored as Mentoring Advocate

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State Rep. William 'Smitty' Pignatelli

BOSTON — State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli was honored Jan. 16 at the State House with the Massachusetts Advocate of Mentoring Award for his work in supporting mentoring programs throughout the commonwealth.

Awards were presented to Pignatelli and state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, D-Boston, as part of the seventh annual Youth Mentoring Day, sponsored by the Massachusetts Mentoring Partnership. The event is part of National Mentoring Month, a statewide public awareness and mentor recruitment campaign led by the MMP. Gov. Deval Patrick has recognized January as Massachusetts Mentoring Month 2013.

"It is a great honor to be given this award, and on behalf of all the mentoring programs and my colleagues I would like to thank the Massachusetts Mentoring Partnership for all of their hard work supporting youth mentoring," said Pignatelli. "They do a fantastic job and it has been a pleasure working with them over the past several years.

“Folks at programs such as the Railroad Street Youth Project in Great Barrington are the real heroes here, working on the frontlines, interacting with our youth on a daily basis and providing the support and guidance they need. Mentoring is such a critical piece in the development of young people and I am proud and honored to be working with the MMP to help increase access to mentoring services throughout the commonwealth."

Since 2009, Pignatelli has been working with the MMP, the Patrick administration and House and Senate leadership to restore funding to the Mentoring Matching Grants line item that supports the MMP and mentoring programs. In 2009, Patrick vetoed funding for the line item, but Pignatelli initiated efforts to override his veto and was able to restore $100,000 in funding. Since then, he has been able to increase the funding to $350,000 through the annual budget process and increase his colleagues' awareness and support for the Mentoring Matching Grants.

"We are thrilled to honor Rep. Pignatelli with the Massachusetts Advocate of Mentoring award for his unwavering commitment to mentoring in his district and through the Mentoring Matching Grants Line Item," said Marty Martinez, president and CEO of the partnership. "His support enables thousands of youth each year to be matched with caring adults in quality mentoring relationships in communities throughout the state, helping to better prepare them for school, set them on a career track and develop important life skills."

Ananda Timpane, executive director of the Railroad Street Youth Project, added, "Smitty is a true champion of mentoring. Railroad Street Youth Project couldn't be more proud to work with him and appreciates all of his efforts."

Based in Boston, the partnership works to expand quality mentoring for youth to meet the needs of communities across the state. MMP serves more than 200 mentoring programs supporting 30,000 youth ages 5 to 18 in mentoring relationships. It provides services including training and technical assistance, networking and professional development, mentor recruitment campaigns, advocacy, resource development & recognition, and mentor-mentee match activities.

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