Nationwide Search for Youth Mentors to Launch Next Month

The National Network of Youth Ministries' mentoring initiative is currently preparing to launch a national search for ambassadors who will recruit mentors in their local church congregations and communities.

Mentor Youth, a faith-based initiative to help the Office of Juvenile Justice & Deliquency Prevention (OJJDP) to find mentors for the nation's youth, plans to recruit more ambassadors to the 400 who have already signed up.

At the beginning of September, Mentor Youth will hold a large meeting with other national agencies and organizations with mentoring programs to discuss and raise awareness on the recruitment of mentor-recruiting ambassadors. A kinship of national mentoring programs will attend the meeting held at Hyatt Regency Islandia Hotel in San Diego, Ca., including Big Brothers Big Sister, MENTOR - National Mentoring Partnership, USA Freedom Corps, Youth for Christ, Save Our Youth, Youth Ministry for Peace and Justice, We Care America, and Youth Service America. Other participating groups are Christian colleges.

Then, by January 2006, Mentor Youth is scheduled to present the ambassador recruitment strategy to OJJDP.

According to Lynn Ziegenfuss of NNYM, the approach will get more people in local churches and communities to volunteer as mentors. She said NNYM's three lines of defense in their search for mentors are: NNYM members, the senior adult group, and college students and young adults.

"In general, it's hard right now to get people to volunteer because of the time it takes," she told the Christian Post on Friday. "That's why we are trying to reach out to the college students and tell them to begin the discipline now."

Ziegenfuss added that receiving mentorship and giving mentorship is part of Jesus' plan of discipleship.

"Disciple is investing your life into another life," she said. "Everyone should always invest their lives in someone younger and have someone speak into their lives."

A high percentage of kids listed on the Mentoryouth.com website are part of programs that work with kids that are at risk, reported Ziegenfuss. "But with constant suppport of adults in their life, they can stay on track and meet goals in their life."

Volunteers who sign up to be ambassadors to recruit mentors will receive access to bi-annual training events, online counseling, and a monthly e-newsletter to keep them "encouraged" and "successful."

For more information on Mentor Youth, visit www.mentoryouth.com.