January marks the 11th anniversary of National Mentoring Month, an annual media campaign to recruit volunteer mentors for young people. President Obama issued a proclamation designating January as National Mentoring Month, saying, "Every day, mentors help young Americans face the challenges of growing into adulthood. 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."
Since 1975, Concord's Friends Youth Mentoring Program (formerly Junior Senior Friends Program) has been creating opportunities for children and youth that will lead to better self esteem and improved behavior at home, in school and in the community.
"Mentors, backed by quality mentoring programs, play a powerful role in preventing substance abuse and youth violence, as well as boosting academic achievement and workforce readines," Youth Mentoring Program Director Brooke Noonan said. "Mentors help build young people's character and confidence, expand their universe and help them navigate pathways to successful adulthood."
A parent of a 15-year-old girl in the program said the following about the Friends Youth Mentoring Program, "I am thankful you were there years ago when my daughter really needed it."
A parent of a 15-year-old boy said, "It has been a wonderful program for my son, because he lost his dad nine years ago and it has been rough without a male role model in his life."
Noonan continued, "Despite the proven impact, the gap between the number of mentors and the number of young people who need a mentor is still too large."
The program currently operates in Merrimack County and is supporting over 100 school-aged youth with one-to-one volunteer mentors age 16 and up; however, there are still many children waiting for a mentor. The Friends Youth Mentoring Program asks you to join us in celebrating January as National Mentoring Month by learning more about enriching the life of a young person by becoming a mentor! Join us on at our upcoming mentor orientation on Jan. 19 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Contact Brooke Noonan at 228-1193 ext. 212 or via email at email@example.com to register. We invite you to invest in the future and mentor a child.