by Vivian Tran

National Mentoring Month was created in 2002 by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. National Mentoring Month is celebrated in the month of January. The objective of National Mentoring Month is to bring attention to the need of mentoring and to broaden the network of mentors available to young people. It also spreads awareness about how mentoring has a positive effect on young people today.

On December 31, 2015, President Barack Obama joined the efforts of MENTOR and its sponsors by issuing a proclamation that declared January as National Mentoring Month.

Along with his proclamation, President Obama also provided a statement, “At the heart of America’s promise is the belief that we all do better when everyone has a fair shot at reaching for their dreams.  Throughout our Nation’s history, Americans of every background have worked to uphold this ideal, joining together in common purpose to serve as mentors and lift up our country’s youth.  During National Mentoring Month, we honor all those who continuously strive to provide young people with the resources and support they need and deserve, and we recommit to building a society in which all mentors and mentees can thrive in mutual learning relationships.”

During January, various events happen such as “I am a Mentor Day.” “I am a Mentor Day” is usually celebrated on the second Thursday of the month. Some other events include “Thank Your Mentor Day” which is celebrated on January 21 and the National Mentoring Summit which will take place on January 27 to January 29.

The National Mentoring Summit is an event that will take place at the Renaissance Washington D.C. Downtown. The purpose of the 2016 summit is to explore the theme of “Connection | Growth | Opportunity.” The summit will feature more than 60 workshops related to this year’s theme. On the first day of the summit, participants will have the opportunity to discuss with Senators and Representatives from their states about pivotal bills and issues in Congress, in addition to talking about the mentoring efforts happening in their community. This day is known as Capitol Hill Day.

Mentoring has numerous positive effects on adolescents. According to mentoring.org, young adults who were at-risk for falling off track but had mentors are 55 percent more likely to enroll in college; 78 percent more likely to volunteer regularly; 90 percent are interested in becoming a mentor; and 130 percent more likely to hold leadership positions.

Stuart’s Peer Mediation program, also known as Peer Mentoring, is a program where students consult with a trained student mediator about any conflicts or disputes. The Peer Mediation program is run by Student Services. These disputes happen in a private, safe, and confidential location. Peer Mediation is an example of how students can mentor and seek guidance from their own peers. Not only does this program help with resolving student conflicts, it also teaches students essential life skills and how to resolve conflicts collaboratively.

“I do think peer mediation can have positive results on the Stuart community because it creates more responsible, mature citizens.  When students learn how to handle conflicts with each other in a proper manner, it creates a better, safer environment for everyone around them. Also someone may witness something that was taught in peer mediation, and inquire for themselves. Hopefully this would create a positive domino effect,” said Stuart counselor Justin Wieland.

Stuart’s National Honor Society is starting a joint mentoring program with Glasgow Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society. The program is still in its developing stages and the National Honor Society is currently recruiting some of its members to form a committee that will be in charge of planning various collaborative projects. The program was created so that current Stuart students can give academic advice to Glasgow students that will be attending JEB Stuart High School in the near future.

The NHS plan on having guest speakers from JEB Stuart to go and talk to the Glasgow students about things that the students may be unaware of.

“We want to have guest speakers like the coaches at Stuart, the IB Coordinator Kresse Rodriguez and the MYP Coordinator; so they can tell us about the sports activities, the IB diploma, and MYP. We’re also thinking of some joint community service activities where our mentors from highschool can interact with the students there,” said NHS president Sadeechya Gurung.

“A lot of students come in freshmen year and disregard its importance. What we want to do is give them an insight on what to expect and what they should do to ensure they start off on the right foot,” said NHS secretary Dowha Karar.

NationalMentoringMonthNHS Officers discussing about the mentoring program. Photo by Vivian Tran