January is National Mentoring Month, an annual campaign aimed at expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect more of the Commonwealth’s young people with caring adults. MENTOR Virginia is celebrating by offering free trainings, sharing stories from mentors and mentoring program staff, and kicking off Coffee and Conversations – monthly meetings with program partners.
“National Mentoring Month is a time to focus on the importance of mentors and mentees, and to reflect on how we can all help expand the mentoring movement and the positive effects it has on young people,” said Jennifer Boyle, executive director of MENTOR Virginia.
Research shows that mentors play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to make responsible choices, attend and engage in school, and reduce or avoid risky behavior like drug use. In turn, these young people are:
55% more likely to be enrolled in college.
81% more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities.
78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities.
More than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team.
Yet, the same research shows that one in three young people in our country will grow up without a mentor.
National Mentoring Month is the time of year when engagement from community members interested in becoming a mentor is highest. The pandemic has proved to be a challenge for many mentoring programs, but most have been able to shift to virtual or e-mentoring solutions. Mentoring relationships are at their best when connections are made between a caring adult and a young person who knows that someone is there to help guide them through those real life decisions.
National Mentoring Month is led by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, with support from the Highland Street Foundation. Each year since its launch in 2002, National Mentoring Month has enjoyed the strong support of the President and the United States Congress. Other prominent individuals who have participated in the campaign include: Maya Angelou, former President Bill Clinton, Clint Eastwood, Quincy Jones, Cal Ripken Jr., Bill Russell and Usher.
To learn more about the role mentoring plays in our community and to find volunteer opportunities visit www.mentorva.org.