Operation Jump Start Engages Community to Highlight National Mentoring Month

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This January will mark the 14th annual National Mentoring Month, and Operation Jump Start is participating in this campaign aimed at expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect more of our community’s young people with caring adults.

“There is a powerful mentoring effect demonstrated by research and the experiences of young people who are connected to a mentor,” said Erik Miller the 2012-2014 Chair of the Long Beach Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention (LBGRIP) Program. “Mentoring is linked to improved academic, social and economic prospects for your people, and that ultimately strengthens our community.”

Research has shown that when matched through a quality mentoring program, mentors can play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to make responsible decisions, stay focused/engaged in school, and reduce/avoid risky behavior (like skipping school, drug use and other negative activities).

For example, in a recent national report called The Mentoring Effect, young people who were at-risk for not completing high school but who had a mentor were 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college than those who did not have a mentor. They were also:

  • 81% more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities.
  • 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities.
  • More than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team.

This same report found that one in three young people in our country will grow up without a mentor. Today, in our community there are 81,000 kids who could benefit from having a mentor.

As we focus on engaging more community members in volunteering as mentors, we will share a simple message: Be Someone Who Matters to Someone Who Matters. Mentoring relationships are basic human connections that let a young person know that they matter, and mentors frequently report back that their relationships make them feel like someone who matters in another person’s life.

On January 20th at the city council meeting City will be recognizing every mentoring programs in Long Beach for their service and the impact it has had on the community. Other important dates for this public awareness campaign include:

  • January 15, 2015: “Thank Your Mentor Day,” when we encourage anyone who has had a mentor to say thank you by sending a note, a card or sharing a story on social media using #SomeoneWhoMatters.
  • January 19, 2015: Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, when our nation will shine a spotlight on volunteerism and inspire people seeking service opportunities to learn more about mentoring.

To learn more about the role mentoring plays in our community and to find volunteer opportunities visit www.operationjumpstart.org.

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