Friday, January 7, 2011

A Brief Snapshot of National Mentoring Month

"Across our Nation, mentors steer our youth through challenging times and support their journey into adulthood. During National Mentoring Month, we honor these important individuals who unlock the potential and nurture the talent of our country, and we encourage more Americans to reach out and mentor young people in their community."
-President Barack Obama, Presidential Proclamation, Dec. 21, 2010

It's the 10th Anniversary of National Mentoring Month, so let's take a look at what it's all about!

The History and Theory behind National Mentoring Month:

National Mentoring Month was launched in 2002 by Harvard School of Public Health and MENTOR, the National Mentoring Partnership. Since its inception, these collaborating organizations have worked in conjunction with leaders and organizations throughout the country to create a public awareness campaign that helps more caring adults become involved in mentoring programs. As it says on the NMM website, "By focusing national attention on the need for mentors, as well as how each of us—individuals, businesses, government agencies, schools, faith communities and nonprofits—can work together to increase the number of mentors, we assure brighter futures for our young people. "

Prominent Leaders Who Have Participated in National Mentoring Month:
  • Maya Angelou
  • Former President Bill Clinton
  • Clint Eastwood, Academy Award Winner
  • Senator John McCain
  • General Colin L. Powell
  • Bill Russell, five-time NBA Most Valuable Player
  • Usher, Grammy-award winning R&B artist
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • The U.S. President and Congress (each year since NMM's inception in 2002)
How Can You Get Involved:
  1. Reflect upon the people who have been mentors in your life and the impact they've had on you.Thank them personally and/or contact me with your note of gratitude to any of your mentors, and I'll post it here on my blog (Thank Your Mentor Day is January 25th!).
  2. Learn more about mentoring and its impact. See the Tutor/Mentor Institute for a wide range of articles on the importance of mentoring, mentoring best practice, and how entire communities can get involved in supporting local programs.
  3. Find programs in the neighborhoods where you work, live, or care about. Explore their individual website to learn about what these organizations are doing in your community. (see Program Locator for Chicago area programs, or search here for programs throughout the nation).
  4. Partner with organizations in whatever way you can. If you find a program you think is doing important work in your community and you feel compelled, become a volunteer mentor. Or perhaps you can make a financial commitment to providing ongoing support to a particular program now and throughout the coming months.
  5. Think strategically. How can you help more volunteers and donors reach programs in your neighborhoods? What can be done to get more businesses and those with means involved in mentoring programs? Join the brainstorm discussion through the TMC-hosted online forum on its NING page.

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