January is National Mentoring Month

Posted on January 29, 2011


I can’t let the month slip into the past without mentioning that January is National Mentoring Month. According to Mass Mentoring, the word mentor is from the Greek meaning steadfast or enduring and is the one-on-one or group relationship that one or more adults develop with a child or group of children to help them succeed. January 26 was Youth Mentoring day, and I was privileged to attend a ceremony at the statehouse where one of my colleagues at Big Brothers Big Sisters received the Ignite award for excellence in mentoring.

According to the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, children with adult mentors are more likely to have fewer unexcused absences from school, better attitudes and behaviors at school, and better chances of attending college than similar youth who do not have a mentor. Children with mentors are also less likely to engage in drug or alcohol abuse as well as other “problem” behaviors.

So the next time you see Representative Robert Fennell, thank him for being an advocate of mentoring.  From signing on to amendments and naming mentoring as a budget priority, to voicing support for mentoring with leadership, he has worked tirelessly on behalf of young people across the Commonwealth. Rep. Fennell owns the Capitol Diner in Downtown Lynn, so stop by and ask him about mentoring.

I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to once again thank all of the people who gave money in support of mentoring by sponsoring me in the Rodman Ride for Kids this past September. You too deserve credit for stepping forward and making the decision to help Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay reach more kids in need of a mentor.

Finally, I ask you to contact your state legislator in support of line item 7061-9364 of the FY12 budget, Mentoring Matching grants. In FY11 this program was funded at $100,000, an 86% decrease from FY09. This year, an investment of $250,000 would create and support at least 500 mentoring relationships in Massachusetts and leverage an additional $250,000 from the private sector through the match requirement.

I witness the work that goes into creating and supporting lasting relationships for children in need, and can tell you it is money well spent. Stay current on state and federal legislation that impacts youth mentoring programs by subscribing to alerts from Mass Mentoring and responding to requests  by calling and/or emailing legislators at critical points in the budget process.

To all my mentors: thank you.