BOSTON (WWLP) – The State House was packed Wednesday for the 17th annual Mass Mentoring Partnership Youth Mentoring Day.

For the first time since the pandemic, Mass Mentoring held their advocacy day in person and youth leaders spoke on the importance of mentoring in their lives. The Great Hall was completely full of mentors and mentees as part of the Mass Mentoring Program advocacy day.

The Mass Mentoring Partnership has been around for 30 years and is made up of a network of mentoring programs across the state. In the FY23 budget, they received $1.5 million, and in Healey’s proposed budget, they are in line for the same amount of funding.

However, they were advocating for an increase of $300,000 to bring their funding up to $1.8 million. Funds are awarded in partnership with the Department of Education and Secondary Education. Youth advocates were leading the conversation.

“Mentoring to me is something that a lot of people, even adults, even little kids, they could use to be able to make it to where they want to make it. And I know there’s been sometimes when youths or adults or kids haven’t really seen the clear light, but in mentoring there’s always a clear light no matter anything.” Abdiel Mojica of Holyoke

There are currently nearly 1,000 students on the waitlist for mentoring opportunities. After the advocacy day in the Great Hall, youth advocates then went to lobby their state lawmakers for additional funding.