January is National Mentoring Month (NMM), a month dedicated to celebrating and amplifying the work mentors can do for young people in society. NMM began in 2002 by MENTOR National and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Its goals are to:
- Raise awareness of mentoring in its various forms
- Recruit individuals to mentor, especially in programs that have waiting lists of young people
- Promote the rapid growth of mentoring by recruiting organizations to engage their constituents in mentoring
Since its beginning, National Mentoring Month has had support from presidents, like President Obama, public figures, like Usher and Oprah Winfrey, and organizations, like the NBA. Supporters of NMM believe that mentorship shows young people there is someone who “cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges and makes them feel like they matter.” Through this important relationship, a young person can develop personally, academically and professionally in ways they might not otherwise.
NMM provides a page on their website outlining all the ways mentoring can have a huge impact on young people. From not skipping school to becoming leaders in their schools and communities, young people who have mentors do better.
KVC Nebraska and mentorship
As a behavioral health organization that provides child welfare, intensive in-home preservation and reunification, developmental disability services, among other life-changing services, KVC Nebraska is a major supporter of mentorship. We serve a diverse range of clients, including adults, families and children who will benefit the most from mentoring relationships.
Because of this, all of our services provide opportunities for mentoring. Foster parents serve as mentors to the children and teens they’re caring for. Shared Living Providers serve as mentors to their clients. Our PACT therapists serve as mentors to parents and children in the families they serve. Our Peer Support Specialist mentors individuals aged 9-59 so they can find a path toward healing and recovery.
We believe that these relationships are powerful tools to build up those who are struggling in any way. Whether it’s adults, children, parents or the family as a whole, we are dedicated to providing services to support those working through mental health or behavioral challenges.
KVC’s Peer Support Services program
One area KVC provides mentorship opportunities to those we serve is through Peer Support Services (PSS). This program matches our Peer Support Specialist, who has experienced mental health challenges and has since found healing and recovery, with individuals who are currently dealing with mental health challenges of their own. Our Specialist connects with mentees to share how he overcame his own challenges and how he maintains good mental health.
As a person with similar experiences, he makes a great mentor for those sorting through recovery. He offers the knowledge and skills they need to get well and stay well. Individuals matched with a Peer Support Specialist also are able to participate in Peer Support Groups in addition to their partnership with our Specialist.
New: Expanded age range for Peer Support Services
As of late 2020, we expanded our Peer Support Services eligible age range to individuals ages 9 to 59. In the past, KVC could only support those aged 9 to 21 with these services. We are excited about serving many more individuals with this expanded age range and invite those who might be interested in this unique mentoring experience to reach out to us.
Call 402-880-4926 or email Taylor Cambridge, Program Support Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!
Other criteria for individuals interested in our PSS program are:
- Ages 9-59
- U.S. resident living in Cass, Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy or Washington counties in Nebraska
- Have a mental health diagnosis or be experiencing symptoms of a mental health diagnosis due to COVID-19-related stressors
Important dates for National Mentoring Month 2021
Each year, the National Mentoring Month official website shares specific dates during the month to spread the word or to focus on one facet of mentoring. This year, there are some dates to remember mentoring in a special way and participate in events or on social media using the hashtag #MentoringAmplifies. As believers in the power of mentorship, we invite you to amplify the importance of mentoring by taking note of these dates. These include:
- January 7th: I Am A Mentor Day, a day to reflect on your role as a mentor
- January 17th: International Mentoring Day, a day to share mentoring stories or experiences using the hashtags #MentoringDay or #MentoringMonth
- Jan. 18th: Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, a day to participate in service activities, especially those related to your role as a mentor
- January 27-29: National Mentoring Summit, a virtual summit where you can learn from leaders in the mentoring world
- January 29: #ThankYourMentor Day, a day to share stories about a mentor you had, thanking them for the ways they helped you