On January 3, 2013, President Obama issued a proclamation announcing the month of January as the National Mentoring Month. Mentoring programs can be the solution to so many of today's problems in society from teen pregnancy, bulling, self esteem, etc. National Mentoring Partnership Research and Policy Council launched in September 2006 under the leadership of Dr. Jean E. Rhodes with University of Massachusetts in Boston research outlines the positive impact mentoring relationship has on individuals. Mentors provide encouragement, recommendation, guidance, and offer resources that help individuals (mentees) to be productive and successful in the school and in the community. Most importantly, they build a positive relationship of trust and respect.
Mentoring, in its simplest form, is a process of building a positive and encouraging relationship. This can be formal or informal. Mentoring can occur in any setting from in the community, schools, or at work. There is no restriction on age, geographic, or family background. Almost anyone can be a mentor (for mentoring minors - a background check is required) and anyone can be a mentee. Mentors are not only limited to children. Adults can have a mentor too.
Twelve years ago, Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR, and the Corporation of National and Community Service established the National Mentoring Month to bring awareness to the importance and value of a mentor program. These three websites provide valuable information about mentoring such as how to be a mentor, where you can locate a mentor program in your area, and other great resources.
In Mobile, AL, there are many mentoring programs for school aged children. The following are a few:
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Alabama
- Push in Purpose
- Mobile County Youth Advocate Program, Inc.
- Self Program
- Housing Board Community Team Focus
Keep in mind you can be a mentor to someone by simply taking an interest in an individual and helping that individual. Give back to the community by being a mentor to someone. Get involved.