January is National Mentoring Month and this year, the Griffin-Spalding County Mentor Program is celebrating the annual campaign aimed at expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect more students with caring adults.
Research shows that mentors play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to strive and thrive, to attend and engage in school, and to reduce or avoid risky behavior like drug use. In turn, these young people are 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college, 81 percent more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities, 78 percent more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities, and ore than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team.
Yet, the same research shows that 1 in 3 young people in the United States will grow up without a mentor.
Today in the community there are young people who could benefit from having a mentor outside their family. At the same time, research shows that 44 percent of adults are not yet mentoring but are willing to consider it and mentoring is poised for growth.
Research shows that 18- to 29-year-olds are more than twice as likely to cite having had a mentor in their childhood than those over 50. Almost half of today’s young adults report having a mentor in their youth and those rates appear to have been rising steadily over the past several decades.
National Mentoring Month is the time of year when engagement from community members interested in becoming a mentor is highest.
National Mentoring Month is led by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, the national organization working to expand the quality and quantity of youth mentoring relationships nationwide.
Each year since its launch in 2002, National Mentoring Month has enjoyed the strong support of the President and the United States Congress. Other prominent individuals who have participated in the campaign include Maya Angelou, former President Bill Clinton, Clint Eastwood, Quincy Jones, Cal Ripken Jr., Bill Russell, and Usher.
Locally, people can participate in the Griffin-Spalding County Mentor Program. It is a school-based initiative that pairs caring adults with a student who might benefit academically or socially from interacting with a positive role model. Experience is not required and training is included. All that is needed is the commitment of one hour per week for one year for one child.
The Griffin-Spalding County Mentor Program began in 2012 through the combined efforts and generous contributions of the Griffin-Spalding Chamber of Commerce, the Griffin Housing Authority, and the Griffin-Spalding County School System, and it is managed through the Spalding Collaborative.
The program currently has a total of 41 mentor volunteers and 72 mentees in one-on-one and group mentor relationships.
Submitted by Spalding Collaborative Jan 10, 2019