Greene County supervisors at their Jan. 5 meeting declared January 2015 Mentoring Month in Greene County to coincide with statewide and nationwide efforts during the 14th annual National Mentoring Month campaign.
The proclamation recognizes the fact that quality mentoring programs in our county connect mentors to young people and cultivate relationships that provide crucial support and guidance as these young people grow and develop into the next generation of citizens and leaders.
Research has shown that when matched through a quality mentoring program, mentors can play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to make responsible decisions, stay focused and engaged in school, and reduce or avoid risky behavior like skipping school, drug use and other negative activities.
For example, in a recent national report called The Mentoring Effect, young people who were at-risk for not completing high school but who had a mentor were 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college than those who did not have a mentor. They were also:
- 81 percent more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities.
- 78 percent more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities.
- More than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team.
The same report found that one in three youth will reach age 19 without a mentor. Mentoring Month in Greene County provides an opportunity to highlight mentoring programs that produce these positive benefits, and to focus on year-round strategies to grow their capacity to ensure every young person in Greene County who needs a mentor is connected to a caring adult.
“Many of us are fortunate to have one or more mentors throughout our lives, and we carry their wisdom with us as a constant reminder of the unique and timeless gift of mentorship,” said Mary Tighe, KIDS with a Connection mentoring program coordinator. “But if mentoring is left to chance, too many young people will be left without this positive force in their lives. We applaud the efforts of volunteers, schools and the private sector to ensure that more young people in Greene County know they are someone who matters to someone who matters because they are connected to caring adults through mentoring.”
A mentor is a caring, consistent presence who devotes time to a young person to help that young person discover personal strengths and achieve their potential through a structured and trusting relationship. Mentors are asked to commit to about an hour a week with the young person with whom they are matched.
Quality mentoring encourages positive choices, promotes self-esteem, supports academic achievement and introduces young people to new ideas. Those interested in participating in the KIDS with a Connection mentoring program in Greene County can contact Tighe at the Greene County Extension office by calling 515-386-2138.