January is National Mentoring Month

By: Ashley Winterstein

In an effort to draw attention to the crucial need for mentors in communities across the country, January has been celebrated for eleven consecutive years as National Mentoring Month. The Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and the Corporation for National and Community Service have established the theme for this year as: Invest in the future. Mentor a child.

The CommUNITY Mentoring Partnership in Queen Anne’s County gives local community members, businesses, and service organizations the opportunity to do just that. As stated in their Program Manual, “One of the most rewarding relationships two individuals can undertake is the role of mentor and mentee. Mentoring in its simplest form is a relationship that brings a young person and a caring adult together in a setting, which is free from harm. The purpose of this relationship is to enhance the abilities, character and vision of the future for the young person.

A secondary benefit for the mentor is to be that “voice in time” in a young person’s life. Many of us can look back on our lives and find that adult that turned us around, spurred us on, or just helped to make a difference at a critical time. In some cases it was a teacher, a coach, a neighbor or a relative but their seemingly insignificant role in our lives made all the difference … For this reason we have initiated a community mentoring program which partners with the Queen Anne’s County Public School System.”

This Achievement Mentoring is designed to help students reach their potential by providing academic, social, and behavior support. This often includes introduction to career opportunities, exposure to culturally rich activities, and participation in community service activities.

It is hoped that these valuable mentoring moments will increase the academic performance and self-esteem of the young students. With this increase in confidence, it is expected that their lifetime goals and ambitions will increase as well.

Additional mentors are still needed to fulfill the need in local schools. Training and ongoing support are available throughout the mentoring experience. As we celebrate another National Mentoring Month, please consider this opportunity to have a positive impact on the future of the youth in our county.

Also, in the spirit of celebration, the CommUnity Mentoring Partnership would like to extend their deepest appreciation to the community members that are already committed mentors to our youth. These experiences will likely have a larger impact on them than you will ever realize!

For more information about local mentoring opportunities, please contact Jacki Carter at 410-758-6677 or jcarter@qac.org. The CommUnity Mentoring Partnership is a part of QAC Community Partnerships for Children and Families, our local management board, under the Character Counts! program.