President Obama Proclaims January as National Mentoring Month

January 3, 2012: President Barack Obama has issued a proclamation designating January as National Mentoring Month, saying, “Every day, mentors help young Americans face the challenges of growing into adulthood. By setting a positive example and sharing their time, knowledge and experience, mentors play an essential role in preparing our Nation’s youth for a bright future. During National Mentoring Month, we celebrate the contributions of all those who cultivate a supportive environment for the next generation, and we recommit to expanding mentorship opportunities across our country.”
January 2012 marks the 11th anniversary of National Mentoring Month, an annual media campaign to recruit volunteer mentors for young people. Spearheaded by the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR and the Corporation for National and Community Service, this year’s campaign tagline is Invest in the Future. Mentor a Child.
Mentors, backed by quality mentoring programs, play a powerful role in preventing substance abuse and youth violence, as well as boosting academic achievement and workforce readiness. Studies have shown a more than 250 percent return on a $1 investment in mentoring and a myriad of quality of life benefits to the mentor, too. Mentors help build young people’s character and confidence, expand their universe and help them navigate pathways to successful adulthood. Despite this proven impact, the gap between the number of mentors and the number of young people who need a mentor is still too large. While three million young people have a mentor, 15 million need a caring adult mentor in their lives.
In his proclamation, Obama noted, “Last January, we partnered with businesses across America to launch the Corporate Mentoring Challenge, which calls on corporations to begin or expand mentoring programs that pair children with positive role models, foster leadership skills and put them on the path to success in school and beyond. As part of our steadfast commitment to support our service members and their loved ones, we are funding new mentorship opportunities for children from military families.  And we are continuing to engage faith and community groups to help recruit mentors who can guide our youth in education, employment and engaged citizenship.”
Michelle Obama announced the Corporate Mentoring Challenge at the first National Mentoring Summit last January. MENTOR will again host the Summit, along with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Harvard School of Public Health, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and United Way Worldwide, January 24 and 25 in Washington, D.C. The Summit gives the field and cross-sector partners an opportunity to learn and grow together to better meet the mentoring needs of the nation’s young people.
For additional information about National Mentoring Month, visit SERVE.gov/MENTOR.For more information and resources on quality youth mentoring and MENTOR’s network of Mentoring Partnerships and programs, visit www.mentoring.org.
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