January 1, 2007, marked the launch of the sixth annual National Mentoring Month (NMM) campaign—a public-private initiative to recruit volunteer mentors to help at-risk youth achieve their full potential. This nationwide drive to recruit volunteer mentors for young people targeted America’s adult volunteers to “Pass it on. Become a Mentor.”
National Mentoring Month 2007 was spearheaded by the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
As a highlight of this year’s campaign, the Harvard Mentoring Project and the Harvard School of Public Health honored legendary music producer and humanitarian Quincy Jones as the first-ever Mentor of the Year.
President George W. Bush and leading governors and mayors across the nation participated in the campaign. Top Hollywood stars, athletes, and journalists also took part, including: Maya Angelou, Clint Eastwood, Quincy Jones, Sting, and Victoria Rowell. The campaign’s national media partners included CBS Television, Comcast, Fox Broadcasting, NBC Television, National Association of Broadcasters, Time Warner Cable, and Viacom Outdoor. As a highlight of this year’s campaign, Quincy Jones was honored as “Mentor of the Year” by the Harvard School of Public Health.
During January 2007, more than 100,000 people visited www.WhoMentoredYou.org (the website of the Harvard Mentoring Project), www.mentoring.org (the web site of MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership), www.nationalservice.org (the website of the Corporation for National and Community Service) and www.bbbsa.org (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.
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
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.
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.
National Non-profit and Government Partners
The Harvard Mentoring Project, MENTOR, and the Corporation for National and Community Service led the NMM 2007 effort. Nonprofit partners included:
The Advertising Council
America's Promise—The Alliance for Youth
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
National Association of Broadcasters
National Mentoring Center
Partnership for a Drug-Free America
Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network
USA Freedom Corps
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Thank Your Mentor Day
As the centerpiece of NMM 2007, the fourth annual Thank Your Mentor Day™ was celebrated on January 25, 2007. 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.
Thank Your Mentor Day™ promoted “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, www.WhoMentoredYou.org, 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 Maya Angelou, Clint Eastwood, Victoria Rowell, Tom Brokaw, the late Ray Charles, Deepak Chopra, former president Bill Clinton, Walter Cronkite, Richard Dreyfuss, 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 (The West Wing, NBC), Mike Wallace (CBS News), Brian Williams (NBC 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.
In support of Thank Your Mentor Day™, over 100 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 mentors.
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Poet, author and luminary Maya Angelou taped a public service announcement (PSA) speaking about what a mentor is – a “rainbow in the clouds.” Dr. Angelou urged caring adults to “Pass it on. Become a mentor.” The PSA was produced by the Harvard School of Public Health, based on a videotaped interview with Dr. Angelou. Additional excerpts from the interview, in which she discussed important mentors in her early life, are posted on the campaign’s web site, www.WhoMentoredYou.org.
Legendary actor and director Clint Eastwood was also featured in a television PSA supporting the campaign. He spoke about the many mentors in his life that helped him out along the way and highlighted the importance of older adults giving back through mentoring young people. Excerpts from his interview are also available on www.WhoMentoredYou.org.
Another highlight of NMM 2007 was a special focus on mentoring for youth in foster care. Actress Victoria Rowell (The Young and the Restless) taped a PSA that called on adults to play a caring, consistent role as a mentor in the life of a young person in foster care. Having spent the first 18 years of her life in foster care, Ms. Rowell spoke about the tremendous impact that various mentors had in her life in helping her to dream and to achieve her goals.
Other ads supporting the campaign, produced by the Harvard Mentoring Project, included a spotlight on mentoring for youth with disabilities. In partnership with Partners for Youth with Disabilities, the Harvard Mentoring Project taped two general mentoring PSA’s and two PSA’s focusing specifically on mentoring youth with disabilities. These PSA’s featured two real-life mentor/mentee pairs – the first pair was a U.S. District Court Judge and his mentee, both in wheelchairs due to spinal chord injuries. The second pair was a young girl with brittle bone disease and her mentor, a double amputee in a wheelchair. Both pairs were truly inspirational and presented a strong, universal message of the power of mentoring for youth. Additional PSAs featured Sting and Quincy Jones with the late Ray Charles.
CBS Television and the NFL provided an unprecedented opportunity to raise public awareness about the importance of mentoring during this year’s Superbowl. In partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, CBS Television produced a 15 second mentoring PSA which aired during the 2nd quarter of the Superbowl. The ad featured the two coaches of the two Superbowl teams, coaches Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy, who have a real-life mentoring relationship.
The FOX television network, NBC, and CBS also aired mentoring PSAs, produced and sponsored by the networks, featuring top actors from prime time shows, including: Lisa Edelstein (House), Omar Epps (House), Jennifer Morrison (House), David Boreanaz (Bones), Emily Deschanel (House), Parminder Nagra (ER), Jamie Pressly (My Name is Earl), Molly Sims (Las Vegas), Gary Sinise (CSI: NY), Jeff Probst (Survivor), Pauley Perrette (NCIS), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), David Krumholtz (Numbers), Hill Harper (CSI: NY), Jorja Fox (CSI), Jennifer Finnigan (Close to Home), Josh Radner (How I Met Your Mother), James Brown (Sports).
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To promote the theme of “Pass It On,” a print ad was developed by the Harvard Mentoring Project. Featuring a photo of two swans, the ad states “Pass it on. Become a Mentor.” It challenges people to “get your New Year off to a great start: become a child’s mentor!” The ad directs readers to WhoMentoredYou.org and to mentoring.org to learn more about becoming a mentor.
The print ad was featured in Newsweek and Essence.
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The Harvard Mentoring Project’s ongoing National Mentoring Month campaign 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. Additional support for NMM 2007 was provided by the DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund. Major in-kind support for NMM 2007 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.