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

National Mentoring Month
Year Three Report (2004)

January 1, 2004, marked the launch of the third 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.

President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator John McCain, and leading governors and mayors across the nation participated in the campaign. Top Hollywood stars, athletes, and journalists also took part, including: Tom Brokaw, Deepak Chopra, Walter Cronkite, Gwen Ifill, Edward James Olmos, Bill Russell, Tim Russert, Martin Sheen, Mike Wallace, and Oprah Winfrey. The campaign's national media partners included ABC (Disney), CBS (Viacom), Fox (News Corp.), NBC (GE), and several divisions of AOL Time Warner.

During January 2004, more than 200,000 people visited (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:

  1. To raise awareness of mentoring in its various forms;
  2. 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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Non-profit Partners

The Harvard Mentoring Project and MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership led the NMM 2004 effort. The Harvard Mentoring Project provided overall strategic direction for NMM 2004, created the campaign's advertising, handled media outreach, and served as liaison to the White House. MENTOR took lead responsibility for fulfillment, and served as liaison to the United States Congress.

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

The Advertising Council
America's Promise-The Alliance for Youth
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
The Child Welfare League of America
Communities In Schools
Everybody Wins
The Grammy Foundation
Mentoring USA
National Association of Broadcasters
National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
Partnership for a Drug-Free America
Points of Light Foundation
Save the Children

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.

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The Campaign Theme

The theme for NMM 2004 was "Who mentored you? Thank them…and pass it on!"
The idea behind "Who mentored you?" is to help people connect to the importance of mentoring by encouraging them to think about individuals in their own lives-family members, teachers, coaches, clergy, neighbors-who provided support, showed them the ropes, and helped them become who they are today. The campaign's message was that, today, too many young people do not get enough of that kind of support; mentoring programs can help fill the gap but need more volunteers.

As the centerpiece of NMM 2004, the Harvard Mentoring Project developed a new initiative, Thank Your Mentor Day™, which was celebrated on January 15, 2004. 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 DayTM, and NMM 2004.

Thank Your Mentor Day™, which will be repeated each year, 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,, presents 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 include Tom Brokaw (NBC News), the late Ray Charles, Deepak Chopra, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Walter Cronkite, Antwone Fisher, 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), and Oprah Winfrey. During January, the web site also provides 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 promotes the theme of "Pass it on!" and provides 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

Advertising for NMM 2004 was produced by the Harvard Mentoring Project and by the ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC networks. One powerful ad, "Stand By Them," inspired adults to help young people and featured the famous hit song, "Stand By Me," sung by the renowned Ben E. King. Other ads extended the theme of "Pass it on!" by encouraging individuals to "Share what you know."™ The ads reinforced the idea that everyone has something of value to share with a young person. In one ad, the late Ray Charles and music impresario Quincy Jones recalled how Mr. Charles took 14-year-old Quincy under his wing and mentored him in the late 1940s. Another ad featured 90-year-old artist Tom Gill, who drew The Lone Ranger comic strip for over 20 years and continues to share his passion for drawing with young people.

Top celebrities appearing in public service announcements (PSAs) for NMM 2004 included Catherine Bell (JAG, CBS), author and screenwriter Antwone Fisher, Kelsey Grammer (Frasier, NBC), NFL great Darrell Green, Mary Hart (Entertainment Tonight, Paramount syndication), baseball great Cal Ripken, Jr., and Hattie Winston (Becker, CBS). The PSA featuring Darrell Green cited his role as chairman of the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation; the PSA featuring Cal Ripken, Jr. cited his membership on the Council.

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Print Advertising

To inaugurate the first annual Thank Your Mentor Day™, a print ad was developed by Grey Worldwide. Against a background of different ways to say "thank you" (e.g, "Thank you for your encouragement, guidance and inspiration" and "Thank you for taking me under your wing."), three phrases stand out: "We can't tell you what to say…But we can tell you when…January 15th is Thank Your Mentor Day." The ad directs readers to to learn more about Thank Your Mentor Day™ and encourages people to think about who mentored them, thank them, and pass it on.

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Local Partnerships

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.

Thank Your Mentor Day™ is the latest initiative of an ongoing national media campaign developed by the Harvard Mentoring Project. The Harvard Mentoring Project's ongoing national media campaign has received over $250 million in donated television airtime, and has generated over one million inquiries from people seeking information on mentoring programs in their own communities. The Project 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 the MCJ Foundation and MetLife Foundation. Major in-kind support for NMM 2004 was provided by AOL Time Warner; the ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC television networks; Margeotes Fertitta + Partners LLC; Sticky Grey; and the National Association of Broadcasters.

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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