By Laura Walling, Senior Director of Government Affairs, Advocacy & Legislative Affairs, Goodwill Industries International
January is National Mentoring Month. I’ve been fortunate to have a number of mentors in my life including family, teachers, friends and colleagues who have all helped me advance in my career, overcome challenges or provided another perspective on something I may have been struggling with. In addition to being a mentee, I’ve had the privilege of serving as a mentor to assist young professionals who are interested in a career in government relations.
Goodwill Industries® has a long history of fostering relationships through mentoring. By pairing volunteers with mentees, including youth, to help build their career plans and skills – or by supporting Goodwill staff who serve as mentors in their community – we, as a network, understand the importance of paying it forward.
Mentors play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to strive and thrive, attend and engage in school, and reduce or avoid risky behavior like drug use. In turn, these young people are:
- 55% more likely to be enrolled in college
- 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 on a sports team
Mentoring connects a young person to personal growth and development, in addition to social and economic opportunities. Yet, one in three young people will grow up without this critical asset.
At the same time, 44% of adults are not yet mentoring, but are willing to consider it.18- to 29-year-olds are more than twice as likely to cite having had a mentor in their childhood than those over the age of 50. Almost half of today’s young adults report having a mentor in their youth, and those rates appear to have been rising steadily over the past several decades.
National Mentoring Month is the time of year when engagement from community members interested in becoming a mentor is at its highest. With the support of the mentoring community, we are encouraging the public to go beyond just digital engagement and become involved in real life.
We advocate for investments in national mentoring programs and policies that impact youth employment and job training, including apprenticeships.
Follow us on Twitter @GoodwillCapHill and register for our Legislative Action Center to stay informed and take action. As we celebrate National Mentoring Month, take a moment to thank the mentors in your life and consider how you can be a mentor to others in your community.