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

National Mentoring Month
Year Two Report (2003)

January 1, 2003, marked the launch of the second 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, Senator 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 2003, more than 120,000 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.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America reported receiving the largest number of monthly inquiries in the organization's 100-year history during NMM 2003.


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 40 states and cities, partnerships of mentoring programs, brought together under the umbrella of MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, provided 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 2003 effort. Nonprofit partners included:

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 2003 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.

To support the effort, the Book of the Month Club (AOL Time Warner) and Barnes & Noble Publishing released an updated version of Mrs. Matilda Cuomo's book, The Person Who Changed My Life. Mrs. Cuomo is the founding chair of Mentoring USA. Her book consists of interviews with 75 leaders in various fields discussing the influence of mentors in their lives, and includes contributions by Tony Bennett, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator Elizabeth Dole, Gloria Estefan, James Earl Jones, Christopher Reeve, and Diane Sawyer.

The public relations initiative for NMM 2003 included the launch of a new website,, developed by the Harvard Mentoring Project. The site features video clips and written commentary from prominent people discussing important mentors in their own lives. Participants include Tom Brokaw, Deepak Chopra, Walter Cronkite, Gwen Ifill, Larry King, Senator John McCain, Edward James Olmos, General Colin Powell, Harold Prince, Bill Russell, Tim Russert, and Oprah Winfrey. The web site also provided access to on-line greeting cards (e-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 own lives. Lastly, the site promotes the theme of "Pass it on!" and provides links to information about mentoring programs in local communities around the country that need volunteers.

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Television Advertising

The television advertising for NMM 2003, produced by the Harvard Mentoring Project and by the ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC networks, extended the theme of "Pass it on!" by encouraging individuals to "Share what you know." The advertising reinforced the idea that everyone has something of value to share with a young person. The ads featured leading actors and personalities, including: Marc Anthony; Edward James Olmos; Martin Sheen, Stockard Channing, and Janel Moloney (NBC's The West Wing); Dennis Franz (ABC's NYPD Blue); Larry King (CNN's Larry King Live); Bernie Mac (Fox's The Bernie Mac Show); John Ritter (ABC's 8 Simple Rule for Dating My Teenage Daughter); and Doris Roberts (CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond).

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Print Advertising

Renowned graphic artist Milton Glaser created a logo for NMM 2003 on behalf of the Harvard Mentoring Project. Margeotes Fertitta + Partners LLC created a series of print ads and radio spots for NMM 2003 on behalf of MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership. The ads, which featured mentor/mentee pairs, promoted the theme, "Share the Experience…Be a Mentor" and highlighted workplace and school-based mentoring. Sticky Grey, a division of Grey Worldwide, created a series of outdoor and print ads on behalf of the Harvard Mentoring Project and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. (View a .pdf of the ad, free version of Acrobat Reader required for viewing) These ads supported the "Share what you know" theme; using the line, "Turn a lifetime of experience into the experience of a lifetime."

The national advertising for NMM 2003 directed individuals to, the web site of MENTOR/National Mentoring Month, for background on mentoring and information on programs around the country that need volunteers.

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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 National Mentoring Month, and sponsored a month-long, station-wide, on-air campaign in collaboration with the campaign's local lead nonprofit partner.

The "Who mentored you?" and "Share what you know" initiatives are the latest components of an ongoing national media campaign spearheaded by the Harvard Mentoring Project in collaboration with its broadcast and nonprofit partners. Over the past six years, the campaign has received over $200 million in donated television airtime, and has generated over one million inquiries from people seeking information on mentoring programs in their own communities that need volunteers. The Harvard Mentoring 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 the MetLife Foundation.

Major in-kind support for NMM 2003 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.

Who Mentored You?TM , Thank Your Mentor DayTM , and Share What You KnowTM are trademarked initiatives of the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard School of Public Health.


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"Share the Experience, Be a Mentor"--advertisement developed by MENTOR/
National Mentoring Partnership.

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© 2015 President and Fellows of Harvard College