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House Supports National Mentoring Month

On January 22, the House approved, by voice vote, a resolution (H. Res. 29) supporting the designation of January 2007 as “National Mentoring Month.”

Sponsored by Rep. Susan A. Davis (D-CA), the resolution contains a number of findings, including:

  • high-quality mentoring promotes positive outcomes for young people, including an increased sense of industry and competency, a boost in academic performance and self-esteem, and improved social and communications skills;
  • research on mentoring shows that participation in a high-quality mentoring relationship successfully reduces the incidence of risky behavior, delinquency, absenteeism, and academic failure in young people;
  • mentoring relationships have grown dramatically in the past 15 years, now reaching three million young Americans, because of the remarkable creativity, vigor, and resourcefulness of the thousands of mentoring programs and millions of volunteer mentors in communities throughout the nation;
  • in spite of the progress made to increase mentoring, our nation has a serious `mentoring gap,’ with nearly 15 million young people currently in need of mentors; and
  • a recent study confirmed that one of the most critical challenges that mentoring programs face is recruiting enough mentors to help close the mentoring gap.Rep. Davis said, “There is no substitute for a healthy relationship with an adult. A caring adult is one of the most important aspects of adolescent development. When a responsible and reliable adult becomes a mentor, the benefits to the mentee last a lifetime. Another aspect of mentoring sometimes that we overlook are the vast benefits to the mentors themselves. Helping a younger person find their way can be extremely fulfilling, and often those who become a mentor continue to volunteer throughout their lives.” Noting that “mentors give their time and energy to improve the lives of American young people who increasingly spend less time with concerned adult role models,”

    Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) added, “According to the National Mentoring Institute, young people with mentors are roughly half as likely as those without mentors to begin using illegal drugs, 27 percent less likely to begin using alcohol, and 50 percent less prone to absenteeism from school. The positive effects of mentoring also include the improvement of academic achievement, a reduction in violent behavior, and a higher self-esteem.”

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