Start the year right by becoming a mentor
When: January 1 – 31
What: In America, many children face difficulties entirely out of their control, such as limited family resources, the cracks in the foster care system or a lack of community support. According to MENTOR, nearly half of America’s youth are at risk of not living up to their potential. Celebrate National Mentoring Month by committing to positively impact the life of a child while securing a brighter future for the entire country.
Background: First proclaimed by former President George W. Bush in 2002, National Mentoring Month is spearheaded by the Harvard Mentoring Project, MENTOR, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Celebrated each January, the month encourages adults and corporations to better their communities by providing support, advice, friendship and a positive example for America’s youth.
Story Pitch: Educational institutions and visitors bureaus can use this event to highlight community engagement in their respective communities. Companies can also draw attention to their partnerships with local mentoring organizations or explain how their corporate culture encourages employees to become role models for at-risk youth.
The Story Hook: A comprehensive study on the impact of mentoring compared mentored youths from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program to unmentored youths living in the same communities. The researchers found that mentored young people were 46 percent less likely to use drugs and 52 percent less likely to skip school than their peers. Before making your pitch, consider the following questions:
- According to a 2005 report by the MENTOR foundation, the average mentoring relationship lasts 9 months, while 38 percent last over a year. How does your company or community encourage and accommodate individuals looking to make long-term mentoring commitments?
- Mentors also benefit from their mentoring relationships and many report a feeling of improved morale and values. On a wider scale, how can schools, communities and the nation benefit from having an active mentoring base?
- Career-focused mentoring that combines mentoring with career guidance and job shadowing is gaining in popularity. What community and national programs connect at-risk youth with mentors from career fields that interest them?
- People living in an isolated or rural area lacking the need or infrastructure for a mentoring program can look into virtual mentoring. How have new technologies impacted mentoring?
Tips: When making your pitch, provide the name and information of someone who mentors or a child who has enjoyed a long-lasting relationship with a mentor.
Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs of America
Corporation for National and Community Service
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
–Researched, compiled & written by Marissa Maybee
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