Monday, December 22, 2008

President-Elect Obama Promotes Mentoring

The December 19, 2008 edition of The New York Times included a public service advertisement showing President-elect Barack Obama encouraging readers to "Be the change: mentor a child."

The advertisement is a call to action from ServiceNation and National Mentoring Month partners - The Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR and the Corporation for National and Community Service - and is timed to coincide with January's National Mentoring Month activities. The call to action also is benefiting from the leadership of Be the Change, Civic Enterprises, City Year, and the Points of Light Institute.

Newsweek magazine has also agreed to print the Obama ad pro bono, and additional publications are being approached to do the same.

See the full New York Times story.

On the National Mentoring Month web site, a section points to 10 Things You Can Do In January. Number 10 is Make a Donation to a Mentoring Program in your Community.

I'd like to see the nation get a jump on the January campaign by emphasizing point Number 10 in December, when donors are making holiday gift decisions and year-end tax decisions. Without building the funding infrastructure of volunteer-based mentoring and tutoring the PR campaign will send new volunteers into battle as ill equipped as we've sent soldiers in war in Iraq.

Furthermore, I'd like to encourage people from around the country to think of the meaning of the charts and maps on this blog. What are all of the ways we need to work together, using our time, dollars, talent, and the leadership of people like President-Elect Obama, to create a infrastructure that would support on-going, mentor-rich programs in high poverty neighborhoods of every city in America?

We can't find this solution until we get more and more citizens involved. With President-Elect Obama's commitment to service, and out-of-the box thinking, we have a great opportunity.

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