Today’s blog post comes from our Government and Grants Manager, Megan Robinson.
President Obama designated January as National Mentoring Month, marking this month as a time to show appreciation for the contributions of mentors and expand mentoring opportunities across the country. Communities In Schools’ affiliates partnering in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) Mentoring Grant program focused their time in January on creating strategies to recruit volunteer mentors. They also aimed to raise awareness of the impact that adults sharing their time, life experiences and knowledge has on the life of a child. Eleven affiliates in eight states are working on this three-year initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Communities In Schools’ affiliates have been creative in their recruitment efforts and have identified volunteer mentors at fitness centers, barber shops and local businesses. Our affiliate in Greater Phoenix began recruiting employees at a local hospital to serve as mentors for their program. Communities In Schools of Wichita submitted letters to the editor of their local paper to promote awareness about mentoring and participated in “Thank Your Mentor Day” on January 26 to make sure their mentors understood how much their commitment to children is valued and appreciated. And Communities In Schools of the Heart of Texas made presentations about the effect of mentoring on students’ academic success to the local school board. They also launched a media campaign during January and created PSAs that aired on local radio stations. Watch their interview with a local news station.
We may never know the complete impact of each mentoring match that’s created by the OJJDP initiative. What I do know is there have been dozens of inspiring stories over the past month from young people, who reached their dreams of graduating high school, left gangs, quit drugs, enrolled in post-secondary education and believed in their futures –all because a caring adult took the time to connect, listen and provide a positive example.
National Mentoring Month has come to a close, but mentoring continues every single day. Please continue to promote mentoring in your community. If you know a neighbor, friend or co-worker who you think would be an effective mentor to a young person, encourage him or her to volunteer time. Just an hour a week can make a huge difference in the trajectory of a child’s future path.
Thank you to our affiliates in the OJJDP initiative for participating in this important month of awareness. We look forward to sharing your continued successes.