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Reducing youth violence through positive transformation

Are you a mentor? If not, maybe it’s time to consider being one, and January just happens to be National Mentoring Month.

National Mentoring Month is celebrating 14 years of spreading mentoring awareness in an effort to connect more of the nation’s young people with quality mentors. President Barack Obama has joined the efforts of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR), the Harvard School of Public Health and the Highland Street Foundation by declaring January 2015 National Mentoring Month through a presidential proclamation. In 2014, President Obama highlighted the critical role mentoring can play in shaping and strengthening communities through the My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

President Obama was quoted in his proclamation as saying, “In a Nation of limitless possibility, every child deserves the chance to unlock his or her potential. When young Americans have the support they need to make the most of themselves, they can achieve their dreams and strengthen our country, which has alwaysmoved forward by extending ladders of opportunity to the next generation. Every day, mentors play a vital role in this national mission by helping to broaden the horizons for our daughters and sons. This month, we celebrate these individuals who make it their cause to bring out the best in our young people, and we salute their spirit of service”.

In January 2014, MENTOR published The Mentoring Effect, the first-ever nationally representative survey of young people on the topic of mentoring. This research shows that quality mentoring relationships can play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools they need to make responsible decisions, stay focused and engaged in school, achieve academic and personal goals and reduce or avoid risky behavior like skipping school, drug use and other negative activities. However, research also shows that one in three young people will reach adulthood without this powerful asset.

This year, the 2015 National Mentoring Month will celebrate the power of mentoring relationships and the resulting “mentoring effect” that strengthens our communities. Through the theme of “Mentoring Works!”, the campaign will focus on engaging more community members through the message: Be Someone Who Matters to Someone Who Matters. Mentoring relationships are basic human connections that let a young person know that they matter, and mentors frequently report back that their relationships make them feel like someone who matters.

Several January dates are highlighted as part of National Mentoring Month in an effort to create opportunities for engagement and promote the mentoring movement.

  • January 8, 2015 : “I Am a Mentor Day,” when volunteers across our community and the country will share their stories about being a mentor on social media using #SomeoneWhoMatters.
  • January 15, 2015 : “Thank Your Mentor Day,” when we encourage anyone who has had a mentor to say thank you by sending a note, a card or sharing a story on social media using #SomeoneWhoMatters.
  • January 19, 2015 : Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, when our nation will shine a spotlight on volunteerism and inspire people seeking service opportunities to learn more about mentoring.
  • January 28-30, 2015 : The fifth annual National Mentoring Summit, which is the signature event for the national mentoring movement, will bring together approximately 800 in-person and 200 live stream event attendees, including practitioners, researchers, corporate partners, government and civic leaders, national youth-serving organizations and affiliates from MENTOR’s Mentoring Partnership Network in a forum to explore and advance mentoring’s positive impact on individuals and communities.

Individuals, mentoring programs and corporate partners are also encouraged to support National Mentoring Month by utilizing the digital materials and toolkits available on the campaign website. The campaign will be active on social media through the month of January and promote the hashtags #NationalMentoringMonth, #SomeoneWhoMatters, #MentoringWorks and #MentoringEffect.

Each year since its launch in 2002, National Mentoring Month has enjoyed the strong support of the president and the United States Congress. Additional prominent individuals who have participated in the campaign include: former President Bill Clinton, the late Maya Angelou, Clint Eastwood, Senator John McCain, Quincy Jones, General Colin L. Powell, Cal Ripken, Jr., Bill Russell and Usher. In 2014, the campaign received over 10 million print media impressions and reached approximately 375,000 through social media channels.

Positive Influence Team mentors youth and young adults to help them find ways to focus on their goals and dreams, while accentuating their strengths to help them live a life of meaning and purpose. We build relationships over time by providing assistance, support and guidance through challenging situations, while helping the participant grow into their next stage of personal development.

Post Author: Stan Ross

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