Communities and nonprofits across the country are gearing up for a record number of volunteers on the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal holiday, fueled by President-elect Obama’s call for Americans to serve on King Day and throughout the year. Organizers of the annual service day say momentum is building in the wake of the President-elect’s call and the timing of the holiday coming one day before the Inauguration. In addition to asking Americans to serve, President-elect Obama, Vice President-elect Biden, and their families will participate in service on the January 19 holiday in the Washington D.C. area.
“In this time of economic distress, Americans need to realize Dr. King’s dream of a better America. Service is a solution to some of our toughest challenges, and service is needed now more than ever,” said Nicola Goren, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “As Americans make their New Year’s resolutions, we hope volunteering will be at the top of the list, starting on the King Holiday and lasting throughout out the year.”
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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.
Special Initiative: National Mentoring Month
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.