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Mentoring: building a network for change

anuary is a time of fresh starts, and a month when many of us reevaluate our commitments and where we are placing our energy and time. Mentoring is a positive and fulfilling way to spend an hour each week positively impacting youth in our community. Every young person deserves to have someone to turn to, yet one in three young people are growing up without a mentor.

National Mentoring Month in January celebrates mentoring and the positive effects it can have on the lives of young people. Local mentoring programs in communities across the state will be celebrating the success of their programs and asking more community members to step forward to make a difference in the life of a young person. All of us- individuals, businesses, government agencies, school, faith communities and nonprofits- can work together to increase the number of mentors to assure positive outcomes for America’s young people.

When done well, the stability and security of a mentoring relationship can be the very thing a young perosn needs most. It’s a gateway to the kind of skills develoment, goal setting and belief in one’s self that leads to a fulfilling future. Mentored youth set higher educational goals and are 55 percent more likely to attend college than those without a mentor. They are more likely to participate in extracurricular activities, hold leadership positions and often possess higher levels of confidence necessary to succeed in school or at work.

Each of us stand on the shoulders of mentors who helped us get to where we are today. There is no better way to repay that debt of gratitude than by mentoring a youth to reach their fullest potential. I encourage each of you to find out more about how you can get involved with youth mentoring at iowamentoring.org.

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