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Visit MENTOR's web site to find mentoring opportunities in your community.

National Mentoring Month
Year Four Report (2005)

January 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!"

The "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

Spokespersons 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.

During January 2005, more than 210,000 people visited (the website of the Harvard Mentoring Project), (the web site of MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership) and (the web site of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America) to find out more about mentoring opportunities in their area.


In 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.

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The Goals of National Mentoring Month are:

1. To raise awareness of mentoring in its various forms
2. To recruit individuals to mentor, especially in programs that have waiting lists of young people
3. To promote the rapid growth of mentoring by recruiting organizations to engage their constituents in mentoring

Research 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.

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Local Non-profit Partners

In 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 partner.

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National Non-profit Partners

The Harvard Mentoring Project and MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership led the NMM 2005 effort. Nonprofit partners included:

America's Promise—The Alliance for Youth
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Mentoring USA
National Association of Broadcasters
National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
Partnership for a Drug-Free America
Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network

The 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.

The campaign's national media partners included CBS Television, Comcast, Fox Broadcasting, NBC Television, National Association of Broadcasters, Time Warner Cable, Viacom Outdoor, and Yahoo!.

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Official Book

The 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.

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Thank Your Mentor Day

As 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.

Thank Your Mentor Day™ promotes "Three Ways to Honor your Mentor":

  • contact your mentor to express your appreciation;

  • "Pass it on" by becoming a mentor to a young person in your community;

  • write a tribute to your mentor for posting on the campaign's web site.

To support the effort, the Harvard Mentoring Project's web site,, 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, the web site of MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, for information on mentoring programs in communities across the country that need volunteers.

In support of Thank Your Mentor Day™, tributes from individuals thanking their mentors were posted on These meaningful stories of the impact of mentoring from people of all ages and backgrounds are an inspiration to potential mentors.

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Television Advertising

Several stars are featured in a breakthrough TV public service announcement (PSA). The lighthearted spot, which can be viewed at, 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.

Several 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."

Other ads supporting the campaign, produced by the Harvard Mentoring Project, featured Edward James Olmos, Quincy Jones, Cal Ripken, Jr., and Martin Sheen.

The 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).

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Print Advertising

To 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 to learn more about becoming a mentor.

The print ad was featured in Fortune, Newsweek, Ode, People, Real Simple, and Sports Illustrated.

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The 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 Driver Campaign.

The 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

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.


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© 2015 President and Fellows of Harvard College