January is National Mentoring Month, a time to recognize those who give generously of themselves by mentoring young Americans, and a time to focus the nation’s attention towards the cause in the hopes of gaining new mentors for our nation’s children in need. This month was officially proclaimed so by President Barack Obama earlier this week, as seen here on the White House website. Mentoring a child not only enriches their life, but your own as well. Regardless of whether you coach, teach, or just spend time hanging out, you’re exemplifying (hopefully) how to be a responsible adult and become a role model for kids who may not have an adult in their life to look up to.
On the Serve.gov website, they state that “Together, the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR, and the Corporation for National and Community Service are working to focus national attention on the need for mentors. If we – individuals, businesses, government agencies, schools, faith communities and nonprofits – can work together to increase the number of mentors, we assure brighter futures for our young people.”
If you need convincing on how impactful mentoring a child can be, take a look at some of the tributes written on the Harvard Mentoring Project website. The sixth annual ‘Thank Your Mentor Day’ is January 22nd, but the tributes have already begun pouring in from around the country from former and current mentees, young and old, expressing their gratitude.
In order to help you get started mentoring a child, I’ve listed some resources below that should help those in New York trying to find the right opportunity:
The Mentoring Partnership of Long Island (Hauppauge) – (631) 761-7800
The Mentoring Partnership of New York (New York) – (212) 953-0945
iMentor (NYC-focused online mentoring with weekly email correspondence and in-person meetings and events throughout the school year)
Administration for Children’s Services (NYC Gov. Site; includes links to Big Brothers Big Sisters, Mentoring USA, MPNY)
In2Books (online mentoring program that involves reading and discussion)
You should know that most mentoring programs require a background check and training, and then you will be paired with an appropriate mentee that perhaps shares some of the same interests as you. It is also a big commitment to make, as you are promising your time to child; don’t make the decision hastily or if you’re unsure of how much time you’ll be able to give on a regular basis. If you’re unsure of how you’ll be a one-on-one situation with a child, it may be a good idea to attend one of the many projects New York Cares offers that involve spending time reading with children or teaching them computer skills. It’s a great way to get your feet wet and see if this is something you really want to do. The online mentoring programs are a great alternative to the traditional programs (such as Big Brothers Big Sisters) for busy professionals, as they tend to involve significantly less time committal and little to no travel.
If you are an organization that has mentoring opportunities available, please email me or comment below to list them on this site!