Helping Services celebrates National Mentoring Month during January

January is National Mentoring Month, and Youth Mentoring at Helping Services is celebrating the annual campaign aimed at expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect more of the local community’s young people with a friend.

Local communities have a list of 23 kids who are waiting to spend time with an adult friend. Groundbreaking research from the National Mentoring Center shares that people across the United States believe that mentoring unites people, that there is a critical opportunity to increasingly engage the public in mentoring, and that a significant percentage of adults are mentoring kids outside their family. In turn, the results further share:

• 44% of Americans aren’t mentoring yet, but are willing to consider it
• 73% of employees report strong career satisfaction when their employers support youth mentoring
• 73% of mentors are mentoring youth of a different ethnicity.

Research also shows that mentors play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to make responsible choices, attend and engage in school, and reduce or avoid risky behavior like drug use.

Kevin Sand has been a mentor for over 10 years through Helping Services. He shares, “This is a really positive experience. It’s not a lot of time. It makes me do things I might not otherwise do. You get to have fun and see things from a kid’s perspective.”

National Mentoring Month is the perfect time of year for community members to become  involved. January is a time of fresh starts, and a month when many reevaluate their commitments and where they are placing their energy and time. Mentoring is a great way to get involved in supporting youth in the local community, but it is also a great way to channel energy and time towards something positive and fulfilling, yet so simple. Just be a friend.

Local events helping to celebrate National Mentoring Month include:

• A Potluck Dinner was held January 4 at the Congregational Center in Decorah. Friends of mentoring from Allamakee, Howard and Winneshiek Counties enjoyed great food and good cheer.
• Proclamation Signings were held January 7 in Howard County, at 9:30 a.m., and in Winneshiek County, at 11 a.m. Allamakee County will be doing its proclamation Monday, January 14 at 9:40 a.m.
• A special learning opportunity is scheduled for January 15, from 6-7:30 p.m. at First Lutheran Church’s Fireside Room in Decorah. Adults are invited to attend a learning time about “Understanding ADHD, Anxiety, and Depression” presented by Greg Schutte from Keystone AEA.

To learn more about the role mentoring plays in the local community and to find volunteer opportunities, visit Individuals, couples and families can mentor youth. Request an application or contact Kathy Schwartzhoff at 563-387-1720. Take action today: Be A Friend. Support. Rewarding. Impact. Mentor.

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