U.S. Celebrates Fifth Annual National Mentoring Month

WASHINGTON – In celebration of the fifth annual National Mentoring Month, representatives from leading youth mentoring programs gathered in Washington, D.C., for a seminar and luncheon on recognizing the importance of caring adults who give their time to at-risk youth.

Part of a larger weeklong conference on the Helping America’s Youth Initiative, Wednesday’s seminar focused on the wide range of resources that are already available to those interested in enhancing or implementing a mentoring program in their own community.

Presenters came from a wide range of non-profit and government-sponsored organizations, such as the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the Mentoring Resource Center, and Mentor Youth – a joint initiative by the National Network of Youth Ministries and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Lynn Ziegenfuss, Mentoring Director for Mentor Youth, included several brief video clips in her presentation that explained why mentorship – and faith-based mentorship in particular – is so crucial to today’s society.

“Thousands of young people have already signed up and are waiting for a caring adult to step into their lives,” one of Mentor Youth’s recruiting videos explained. “Who better than someone who offers God’s love and hope?”

Other speakers also stressed that any caring adult can become a mentor, and that the biggest roadblock to recruiting new mentors is the often-held mindset that only gifted or talented people can mentor the youth.

“They need what you know,” another video recruiting tool emphasized.

The special luncheon celebration of the fifth National Mentoring Month, which is held every January, will be held at the Washington Hilton today.