General Colin L. Powell to Headline National Mentoring Month 2010

General Colin L. Powell will headline the 9th Annual National Mentoring Month volunteer recruitment drive. Held each January, the campaign highlights the crucial role played by mentors in helping young people to achieve their potential. This year’s theme is "Expand Your Universe. Mentor a Child."

In a public service announcement prepared for broadcast on television and radio, General Powell says, "Nothing is more important to our Nation's future than preparing our children to lead productive and fulfilling lives. And they need good role models. You can play an important part by volunteering as a mentor. It doesn't require special skills, just a willingness to listen and to care. You will experience the satisfaction that comes from inspiring a young person to reach for the stars."

Last January, more than 500,000 individuals responded to the campaign by seeking information about local mentoring programs that need more volunteers.

Research has shown that programs that rely on volunteer mentors can play a powerful role in reducing drug abuse and youth violence while greatly enhancing a young person's prospects for leading a healthy and productive life.

National Mentoring Month is spearheaded by the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Media partners include: CBS, FOX, NBC, MTV, Comcast, Time Warner and the National Association of Broadcasters.

As a highlight of National Mentoring Month 2010, Thank Your Mentor Day™ will be celebrated January 21. On that day, many Americans will reach out to thank or honor those individuals who encouraged and guided them and had a lasting impact on their lives. Thank Your Mentor Day™ promotes "Three Ways to Honor Your Mentor": 1) contact your mentor directly to express your appreciation; 2) pass on what you received by becoming a mentor to a young person in your community; and 3) write a tribute to your mentor for posting on www.WhoMentoredYou.org. Thank Your Mentor Day™ is an initiative of the Harvard School of Public Health.

In communities across the country, designated nonprofit and governmental agencies are responsible for coordinating local campaign activities, including media outreach and volunteer recruitment. These local lead partners include state and local affiliates of MENTOR, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Points of Light Institute and HandsOn Network, America's Promise Alliance, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Communities in Schools and United Way of America.

Local activities range from telethons and media appearances to mentor/mentee game days, basketball tournaments, concerts, walk-a-thons, movie and museum days, and recognition events to honor outstanding mentors.

Each year since its launch in 2002, National Mentoring Month has enjoyed the strong support of the President and the United States Congress. Other prominent individuals who have participated in the campaign include: Maya Angelou, former President Bill Clinton, Clint Eastwood, Senator John McCain, Quincy Jones, Cal Ripken, Jr., Bill Russell and Usher.

For additional information about National Mentoring Month, visit http://www.serve.gov/?q=site-page/mentoring