January Cause Awareness: National Mentoring Month

Human Services

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Positive mentoring relationships are so important to the success of youth everywhere. That’s why we take time every January to celebrate National Mentoring Month! If you’re wondering how you can celebrate the mentors in your life or even become a mentor yourself, here’s a little bit about National Mentoring Month. 

About National Mentoring Month

Woman mentoring young girl

National Mentoring Month is a month-long campaign run by the MENTOR organization and its affiliates across the country. MENTOR was first launched in 1990 to expand opportunities for young people to build positive mentoring relationships with adults outside of their families. The organization recognized that having a mentor can improve young people’s academic, social, and economic prospects and works to close the mentoring gap that exists for 1 in 3 young people. In order to build those positive relationships, MENTOR recruits and provides training resources to potential mentors and links the right mentors to mentees across the nation.  

MENTOR launched National Mentoring Month in 2002 as a way to unify and expand mentoring efforts, as well as raise awareness about youth mentoring in the United States. Throughout January, there are a few days that are important to National Mentoring Month. 

  • January 11 – I Am A Mentor Day
  • January 16 – Dr. MLK Day of Service
  • January 17 – International Mentoring Day
  • January 26 – Thank Your Mentor Day

How to Celebrate National Mentoring Month

Woman high-fiving young mentee

Spread awareness on social media 

One of the best ways to celebrate National Mentoring Month is to spread awareness of the month on social media. Thank your mentors and share their impact on your life with your family and friends. If you’re a mentor, share stories from your mentoring experiences and what you’ve learned from your mentees. Encourage your network to thank their own mentors and consider becoming mentors themselves! 

Find an event to attend 

There are plenty of events that you can take part in throughout National Mentoring Month to mark the occasion and celebrate mentors everywhere. Get involved with your local MENTOR affiliate and check out their calendar of events to see what kinds of events you can attend. If you’re feeling particularly motivated to celebrate National Mentoring Month, register for the National Mentoring Summit where you can meet mentors, researchers, student and civic leaders, and professionals from around the country to learn and network together. 

Join the mentoring database 

If you’re not already a mentor, a great way to celebrate National Mentoring Month is to sign up to be one! Add your information to MENTOR’s mentoring database so you can be matched up with young people in search of a mentor. You can also create mentoring opportunities in your community by partnering with schools or youth organizations. If you see a greater need for mentoring, consider starting a youth mentoring program yourself to fill the gaps. 

Nonprofits to Donate to

Woman mentoring young boy and high-fiving at a table in a library

Big Brothers Big Sisters 

One of the nation’s most eminent mentoring nonprofits, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) is dedicated to creating and supporting one-on-one mentoring relationships for youth across America. They work towards this mission with programs catering to community-based and school-based mentoring relationships, children of military families, and children with incarcerated parents.  

BBBS has affiliates located all across the country and in many communities like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern New Mexico. To find your own local affiliate, head to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America website and search for your area! 

Boys to Men Mentoring (San Diego, CA) 

Since 1996, Boys to Men Mentoring has worked to provide fatherless and at-risk young men with positive male role models and influential mentoring relationships. Research shows that fatherless and at-risk young boys are disproportionately more likely to end up in prison, drop out of school, and fall into gang violence, drugs, and alcohol. Boys to Men Mentoring strives to shape and mold young boys into good men by providing them with positive male mentorship. 

Grow Into You Foundation 

The Grow Into You Foundation provides mentoring support specifically to young people in and aging out of the foster care system. By providing underprivileged, at-risk, and foster care youth with mentoring and coaching services, they empower youth and help them discover their own value and worth in the world. The foundation works to give youth a fighting chance to go after higher education, employment, and shelter once they’ve aged out of the foster care system and are on their own. 

Final thoughts 

Mentors are vital to the success of youth everywhere. During the month of January, take the time to recognize the mentors that helped you find success and become the person you are today. Then, pass on the lessons you’ve learned to empower today’s youth by becoming a mentor yourself! 

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