When Ray was a third grader in Plainville, he had trouble with school and difficulty maintaining self-control in class. That year he joined the Plainville School Based Mentoring Program, were he met his mentor, Maryann, who stayed with him until he graduated high school. Ray and Maryann met once a week, doing things like having lunch, working on homework, or simply enjoying each other’s company and talking. Through those weekly meetings and Maryann’s support, Ray was able to improve his school performance and behavior in his classes. Now, Ray laughs when he remembers his third grade self. He is grateful that Maryann took the time each week to show up, spend time with him, and to give him the guidance he needed to become a successful young man.
January is National Mentoring Month and the goal of the Governor’s Prevention Partnership, on behalf of 150 mentoring programs throughout the state, is to recruit more mentors to serve children like Ray who could benefit from extra support in schools and communities throughout the state.
Youth who have ongoing relations with caring adults through a mentoring relationship are more likely to seek and build positive peer relationships, feel better about themselves and have better relationships with their families and friends. Studies show that a child who is mentored is 88 percent more likely to feel that they have options for their future, 45 percent have better attitudes toward school and 46 percent of mentees are less likely to begin using illegal drugs.
President Obama recognizes these positive youth outcomes with his continued support of National Mentoring Month, proclaiming January 2013 as National Mentoring Month. “Every day, mentors help young Americans face the challenges of growing into adulthood,” said President Barack Obama. “By setting a positive example and sharing their time, knowledge and experience, mentors play an essential role in preparing our nation’s youth for a bright future. During National Mentoring Month, we celebrate the contributions of all those who cultivate a supportive environment for the next generation, and we recommit to expanding mentorship opportunities across our country.”
Echoing President Obama’s call to action and responding to the need for mentors in the State, Governor Dannel P. Malloy has proclaimed January as Connecticut Mentoring Month. “Mentoring strengthens Connecticut’s economic and social well-being by helping young people fulfill their potential, maintain healthy families, and promote more vibrant communities,” said Governor Malloy.
National Mentoring Month. Established in 2002, National Mentoring Month is an annual campaign to recruit mentors and celebrate mentoring and the evidence-based, positive effect it can have on young lives. Spearheaded by the Harvard mentoring project of the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR, and the Corporation for National and Community Service, the campaign’s goal is raise awareness of mentoring in its various forms, recruit individuals to mentor, especially in programs that having waiting lists of young people, and promote the rapid growth of mentoring by recruiting organizations to engage their constituents.
In Connecticut, over 12,000 adults are serving as mentors, yet many more are needed. The Governor’s Prevention Partnership estimates that there are currently more than 190,000 Connecticut children who are in need of a mentor. Boys make up the majority of children on waiting lists and male, minority mentors are in short supply.
“Since this has been a difficult year in Connecticut, many adults are looking for ways to get involved and make a difference,” said Jill Spineti, President & CEO of the Governor’s Prevention Partnership.
“Mentoring a child, with a commitment as little as one hour a week, helps them to feel connected, hopeful and better able to handle challenges at home and at school. It is our hope that many, many people consider mentoring in 2013.”
How To Get Involved:
In Connecticut there are currently 150 school and community-based mentoring programs. To find a mentoring program in your area, go to www.preventionworksct.org.
Key dates for National Mentoring Month 2013 are:
January 17 — Thank Your Mentor Day™. Honor someone who was/is a personal mentor. For example, contact him/her to express appreciation, become a mentor to a young person in the community or make a financial contribution to a local mentoring program.
January 21 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Honor and recruit mentors by participating in community service. For example, sponsor and organize a single service project, form teams to volunteer or encourage friends, colleagues and families to seek out service projects in their hometowns.
January 24 and 25 — National Mentoring Summit in Washington, D.C. Convened by MENTOR and hosted by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the U.S. Department of Justice – Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the Harvard School of Public Health and United Way Worldwide, along with nearly 20 partner organizations, the Summit will bring together more than 650 leading youth-serving organizations, along with government, civic, research and corporate leaders to evaluate best program models, examine new research, project future developments in the field and fundamentally ensure that more youth receive quality mentoring throughout America. The theme for this Summit is “Mentoring Works: Inspire. Achieve. Advocate.”
Celebrating more than 22 years of keeping Connecticut kids safe, successful and drug-free, The Governor’s Prevention Partnership is a statewide, nonprofit public-private alliance, building a strong, healthy future workforce through leadership in mentoring and prevention of youth violence and bullying, underage drinking, and substance abuse. The Partnership is the only statewide organization focusing exclusively on prevention issues affecting youth. Resources for parents, educators and young people related to each of the organization’s program initiatives can be found on www.preventionworksct.org.