Longstanding Public Awareness Campaign Encourages Americans to Mentor “In Real Life”
BOSTON — National Mentoring Month is celebrating 15 years of activating the public in an effort to connect more of the nation’s young people with caring adult mentors. President Barack Obama has joined the efforts of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR), the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Highland Street Foundation by declaring January 2016 National Mentoring Month through a presidential proclamation.
“At the heart of America’s promise is the belief that we all do better when everyone has a fair shot at reaching for their dreams. Throughout our Nation’s history, Americans of every background have worked to uphold this ideal, joining together in common purpose to serve as mentors and lift up our country’s youth. During National Mentoring Month, we honor all those who continuously strive to provide young people with the resources and support they need and deserve, and we recommit to building a society in which all mentors and mentees can thrive in mutual learning relationships,” President Obama said.
This year, MENTOR launched a national public awareness campaign called In Real Life in response to President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative and his call-to-action to connect more young men and boys to opportunity. Identified as a critical support for today’s youth, mentoring was recognized as a centerpiece of the initiative.
“We are truly grateful to President Obama, his administration and other public officials from across this country for again recognizing the importance of mentoring and the powerful impact mentors have on the lives of America’s young people. We encourage everyone to join the mentoring movement by engaging in National Mentoring Month through actions big and small. Together, we can help close the mentoring gap,” MENTOR CEO David Shapiro said.
Wanting to make an impact on the lives of boys and young men in communities of the highest need, the NBA joined MENTOR to develop In Real Life. It’s the first initiative the league has launched with the support of the entire NBA family – the league, the players’ association, and the retired players’ association – a reflection of the universal connection to mentoring felt around the league.
Our goal is to build a grassroots movement of natural mentors like teachers, coaches, and family friends, formal mentors who work with a mentoring program, public and private sector supporters, donors, and advocates who believe that an asset so critical – mentoring – cannot be left to chance. A movement to connect every young person to the kind of meaningful relationships that provide us all with networks of support and opportunity.
This year, with the incorporation of several of the themes found throughout In Real Life, National Mentoring Month will celebrate the power of authentic mentoring relationships happening across the nation.
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 14, 2016: “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 #MentorIRL.
- January 17, 2016: International Mentoring Day, a day to of celebrate the role of mentor by asking the world to share their ideas around mentorship and create space for an international conversation.
- January 18, 2016: 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 21, 2016: “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 #MentorIRL.
- January 27-29, 2016: The sixth 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 #MentorIRL and #NationalMentoringMonth.
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.
MENTOR is the unifying champion for quality youth mentoring in the United States. MENTOR’s mission is to close the “mentoring gap” and ensure our nation’s young people have the support they need through quality mentoring relationships to succeed at home, school, and ultimately, work. To achieve this, MENTOR collaborates with its network of affiliate Mentoring Partnerships and works to drive the investment of time and money into high impact mentoring programs and advance quality mentoring through the development and delivery of standards, cutting-edge research and state-of-the-art tools.
Contact: Jennifer Merrill, Marketing & Communications Manager | email@example.com