January marks the 15th annual National Mentoring Month, and Cortland Community Mentors (Cortland YWCA, Cortland Prevention Resources, and Access to Independence) in collaboration with Cortland Area Communities That Care are participating in this campaign aimed at expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect more of our community’s young people with caring adults.
“This collaboration began five years ago which allows us to better provide quality mentoring through our three programs,” says Leslie Wilkins of Cortland Prevention Resources. “Mentors are all trained using a national curriculum and provided constant support which we feel prepares them to provide the best possible outcomes for the youth they mentor.”
Although about 100 youth are currently being mentored through Cortland Community Mentors, there are 80 more youth on the waiting list. The group is kicking off Mentoring Month with the launch of its #80for80 campaign with the goal of recruiting 80 adults for the 80 youth currently on the waiting list for a mentor.
“Mentoring relationships are so powerful,” reports Sara Earl, Program Director for the YWCA Bridges for Kids program. “When a child sees that you take the time to listen to her feelings and understand her struggles, that child’s confidence just soars. It is not about money spent on a child, but about quality time and showing you care.”
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% more likely to be enrolled in college than those who did not have a mentor. According to the National Mentoring Partnership, one in three young people do not have the support of a positive, caring adult outside of their family.
As we focus on engaging more community members in volunteering as mentors, we will share a simple message: Mentoring Matters! Mentoring relationships are basic human connections that let a young person know that they matter, and they matter!
Important dates include:
• January 14, 2016: “I Am a Mentor Day,” when volunteers across our community and the country will share their stories about being a mentor on social media using #80for80 and #mentoringmatters.
• January 21, 2016: “Thank Your Mentor Day,” when we encourage anyone who has had a mentor to say thank you by sending a note, a card or sharing a story on social media using #80for80 and #mentoringmatters.
National Mentoring Month is led by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. Each year since its launch in 2002, National Mentoring Month has enjoyed the strong support of the president and the United States Congress.
To learn more about the role mentoring plays in our community and to find volunteer opportunities call Cortland Prevention Resources at (607) 756-8970 or visit Cortland Community Mentors info.