1, 2005, marked the launch of the fourth annual National Mentoring
Month (NMM) campaign-a public-private initiative to recruit
volunteer mentors for young people who are at risk of not
achieving their full potential. For the first time, this nationwide
drive to recruit volunteer mentors for young people targeted
America's 77 million baby boomers. The campaign's message
to boomers: "Share What You Know. Mentor A Child!"
"first wave" of boomers will mark their milestone
60th birthday starting just over a year from now. Thanks to
the longevity revolution, the average 60-year-old can expect
to live to 83, and many will continue well into their 90s.
The Harvard School of Public Health-MetLife Foundation Initiative
on Retirement and Civic Engagement recently released a major
report documenting an "unprecedented opportunity"
on the horizon to mobilize millions of boomers as community
volunteers as some of the demands of work and family that
commanded their attention in mid-life recede. (The complete
report is available online at www.ReinventingAging.org.)
for NMM 2005 included three members of the President's Council
on Service and Civic Participation: former Senator John Glenn,
honorary chairman; football great Darrell Green, chairman;
and baseball icon Cal Ripken, Jr. Each appeared in public
service announcements produced by the Harvard School of Public
Health (HSPH) and co-sponsored by HSPH, MENTOR/National Mentoring
Partnership and USA Freedom Corps.
January 2005, more than 210,000 people visited www.WhoMentoredYou.org
(the website of the Harvard Mentoring Project), www.mentoring.org
(the web site of MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership) and
www.bbbsa.org (the web
site of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America) to find out more
about mentoring opportunities in their area.
January 2002, the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard
School of Public Health and MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership
spearheaded the first-ever National Mentoring Month. In more
than 50 states and cities, partnerships of mentoring programs,
brought together under the umbrella of MENTOR/National Mentoring
Partnership, provide a local telephone number for prospective
mentors to call, and handled placement of volunteers. In many
other markets, similar roles were played by local affiliates
of America's Promise-The Alliance for Youth, Big Brothers
Big Sisters of America, Communities In Schools, and Points
of Light Foundation.
Goals of National Mentoring Month are:
raise awareness of mentoring in its various forms
recruit individuals to mentor, especially in programs
that have waiting lists of young people
promote the rapid growth of mentoring by recruiting organizations
to engage their constituents in mentoring
has shown that programs which 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.
Local Non-profit Partners
more than 50 states and cities, local partnerships of mentoring
programs convened steering committees of community leaders,
created an action plan for NMM, secured media commitments
in their markets, provided local telephone numbers for prospective
mentors to call, responded to inquiries from the public, and
referred prospective volunteers to appropriate mentoring agencies.
In many of the largest media markets, a single television
network affiliate served as the local lead TV partner for
NMM, and sponsored a month-long, station-wide, on-air campaign
in collaboration with the campaign's local lead nonprofit
National Non-profit Partners
Harvard Mentoring Project and MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership
led the NMM 2005 effort. Nonprofit partners included:
PromiseThe Alliance for Youth
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
National Association of Broadcasters
National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
Partnership for a Drug-Free America
Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National
White House supported the effort through the President's USA
Freedom Corps initiative. The U.S. Department of Justice participated
through its National Mentoring Center.
campaign's national media partners included CBS Television,
Comcast, Fox Broadcasting, NBC Television, National Association
of Broadcasters, Time Warner Cable, Viacom Outdoor, and Yahoo!.
official book for NMM 2005 was Guiding Lights: The People
Who Lead Us Toward Our Purpose in Life by Eric Liu, published
by Random House. Guiding Lights tells the stories of
life-changing mentors who guide their apprentices on a path
of purpose and possibility. Mr. Liu traveled the country throughout
January as a spokesperson for National Mentoring Month.
Thank Your Mentor Day
the centerpiece of NMM 2005, the second annual Thank Your
Mentor Day was celebrated on January 25, 2005. On that
day, Americans across the country reached out to thank or
honor those individuals who encouraged and guided them, and
who had a lasting impact on their lives. The Harvard Mentoring
Project created thank-you cards for people to send to their
mentor and to educate people about mentoring, Thank Your Mentor
Day, and NMM 2005.
Your Mentor Day promotes "Three Ways to Honor your
your mentor to express your appreciation;
it on" by becoming a mentor to a young person in your
write a tribute to your mentor for posting on the campaign's
To support the effort, the Harvard Mentoring Project's web
presented video clips and written essays contributed by prominent
individuals from various fields sharing recollections about
important mentors from their childhood and young adult years.
Contributors included Tom Brokaw, the late Ray Charles, Deepak
Chopra, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Walter Cronkite, Antwone
Fisher, former Senator John Glenn, Darrell Green, Gwen Ifill
(PBS), Quincy Jones, Larry King (CNN), Senator John McCain,
Edward James Olmos, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Harold
Prince, Cal Ripken, Jr., Bill Russell, Tim Russert (NBC News),
Martin Sheen (West Wing, NBC), Mike Wallace (CBS News), and
Oprah Winfrey. During January, the web site also provided
access to on-line greeting cards, created for the campaign
by Hallmark Cards, enabling people to reach out via e-mail
to thank mentors who made significant contributions to their
lives. The web site promoted the theme of "Pass it on!"
and provided links to www.mentoring.org,
the web site of MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, for
information on mentoring programs in communities across the
country that need volunteers.
support of Thank Your Mentor Day, tributes from individuals
thanking their mentors were posted on WhoMentoredYou.org.
These meaningful stories of the impact of mentoring from people
of all ages and backgrounds are an inspiration to potential
stars are featured in a breakthrough TV public service announcement
(PSA). The lighthearted spot, which can be viewed at www.WhoMentoredYou.org,
features a rapid-fire series of soundbites in which celebrities
and others share a "special" skill that they could
teach to a young person. The PSA was produced by Trailer Park
(Los Angeles) and News Corp. in collaboration with the Los
Angeles Mentoring Partnership (LAMP) and the Harvard Mentoring
Project. Development of the PSA was spearheaded by Patrice
Theard, executive director of LAMP, and Megan Chernin, Chairperson
of LAMP and Member of the Board of Advisors of the Harvard
Mentoring Project. Celebrities appearing in the PSA include
Jessica Alba, Don Cheadle, Roger Daltrey, Matt Damon, Jimmy
Fallon, Andy Garcia, Ashton Kutcher, Tommy Lasorda, Kiefer
Sutherland, and Jeffrey Tambor.
PSAs are aimed directly at baby boomers and retirees. A PSA
featuring John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit
the Earth, opens with original footage from his two space
shots, the first at age 40 and the second at age 77. "I
don't think people need to retire and just sit on the front
porch and rock," former Senator Glenn says in the PSA.
"They've had a lifetime of experience. They can pass
that on. There's nothing like inspiring a young person in
these areas of curiosity of their own, and a mentor can do
that. It's very important today for young people to have mentors
in their lives. It's life experience, and that's what the
young people lack. January is National Mentoring Month. So
share what you know. Become a mentor."
ads supporting the campaign, produced by the Harvard Mentoring
Project, featured Edward James Olmos, Quincy Jones, Cal Ripken,
Jr., and Martin Sheen.
CBS, FOX, and NBC television networks also aired mentoring
PSAs, produced and sponsored by each network, featuring top
actors from prime time shows, including: James Caan (Las Vegas,
NBC), Dean Cain (Clubhouse, CBS), Josh Duhamel (Las Vegas,
NBC), Mariska Hargitay (Law and Order: SVU, NBC), Patricia
Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS), Marg Helgenberger (CSI,
CBS), Kevin James (King of Queens, CBS), Bernie Mac (The Bernie
Mac Show, Fox), Gail O'Grady (American Dreams, NBC), Donald
Trump (The Apprentice, NBC), and Goran Visnjic (ER, NBC).
promote the theme of "Share What You Know," a print
ad was developed by the Harvard Mentoring Project. Featuring
a photo of a swan and cygnet spreading their wings, the ad
states "Share What You Know. Become a Mentor." It
reminds people that "it doesn't take special skills to
mentor a child-just a willingness to listen, offer encouragement,
and share what you've learned about life." The ad directs
readers to WhoMentoredYou.org to learn more about becoming
print ad was featured in Fortune, Newsweek, Ode, People, Real
Simple, and Sports Illustrated.
Harvard Mentoring Project's ongoing national media is an initiative
of the Harvard School of Public Health's Center for Health
Communication, which previously created the National Designated
Harvard Mentoring Project is supported by grants from MetLife
Foundation and the MCJ Foundation. Major in-kind support for
NMM 2005 was provided by the ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC television
networks; the National Association of Broadcasters; News Corp.;
and Time Warner.
For more information on Thank Your Mentor Day and National
Mentoring Month, visit www.WhoMentoredYou.org.
Who Mentored You? , Thank Your Mentor
Day , and Share What You Know are trademarked
initiatives of the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard
School of Public Health.