First proclaimed by President Bush in 2002, National Mentoring Month is an annual, high-profile campaign to draw attention to the need for more volunteer mentors to help America’s young people achieve their full potential. This year’s theme is “Be the Change: Mentor a Child.”, and President Bush proclaimed National Mentoring Month, 2009 on December 30, 2008. In 2008, more than 375,000 individuals responded to the campaign by seeking information about local mentoring programs that need more volunteers. Research has shown that programs that rely on volunteer mentors can play a powerful role in reducing drug abuse and youth violence while greatly enhancing a young person's prospects for leading a healthy and productive life.
Throughout the month of January, the Harvard Mentoring Project, MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, and the Corporation for National and Community Service are spearheading the effort to raise awareness of ways that individuals can lend their support to this important cause. People interested in becoming mentors are asked to go to www.mentoring.org, where they can find organizations offering mentoring opportunities in their local community. To view videos of Quincy Jones, Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey, Colin Powell, and other well-known individuals talking about their mentors, go to www.WhoMentoredYou.org, which also has information on how to participate in Thank Your Mentor Day on Thursday, January 22, 2009. At the site, you can also contact your mentor directly to express your appreciation; find out how you can pass on what you received by becoming a mentor to a young person in your community; make a financial contribution to a local mentoring program; and write a tribute to your mentor for posting on the "Who Mentored You?" Web site.
Mentoring is a central focus area for the Corporation and a key element of their Strategic Plan through the Ensuring a Brighter Future for America’s Youth initiative. In May 2006 the Corporation and MENTOR announced a campaign to close the “mentoring gap” in the United States by at least 3 million children by 2010. In addition, each of the Corporation’s main programs - Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America - have made mentoring and working with youth from disadvantaged circumstances a priority.
USA Freedom Corps and the Corporation offer an array of materials and resources related to mentoring, including:
Thank Your Mentor Day™
Thank Your Mentor Day will be celebrated on Thursday, January 22nd, 2009. On that day, many Americans will reach out to thank or honor those individuals who encouraged and guided them, and had a lasting impact on their lives. Click here for ideas on ways to mark the day.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
Martin Luther King, Jr.Day of Service, January 19, 2009,, is an ideal opportunity to highlight the importance of mentoring. Use the day to honor mentors in your community, recruit new mentors, provide training to mentoring programs, or encourage mentor pairs serve together on King Day. Visit www.mlkday.gov for more information.
Helping America's Youth
On October 27, 2005, Mrs. Laura Bush convened the White House Conference on Helping America's Youth at Howard University in Washington, D.C. More than 500 parents, youth, educators, civic leaders, faith-based and community service providers, foundations, researchers, and experts in child development gathered to discuss various problems facing America's youth and proven solutions in overcoming those challenges. And, during the event, the First Lady unveiled the Community Guide to Helping America's Youth, www.helpingamericasyouth.gov, a web-based guide with up-to-date research on youth development and effective programs.