Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution recognizing the importance of mentoring in encouraging achievement in our nation’s youth. Mentors across America are helping ensure young people reach their goals and goals they may never have thought they could achieve.
The statistics included in S.Res. 356 deserve reflection:
An estimated 9 million young people in the U.S. “feel isolated from meaningful connections with adults outside their homes, constituting a ‘mentoring gap’ that demonstrates a need for collaboration and resources.”
When compared with similarly situated young people without a mentor, young people who were at risk for not completing high school but who had a mentor were 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college; 81 percent more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities; more than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team; and 78 percent more likely to pay it forward by volunteering regularly in their communities.
Mentors are making a difference in helping American youth learn important life skills, connect with others who can help them along their career paths and lead productive and fulfilling lives. The Senate recognized the magnitude of the service of those who “help the young people of the United States find inner strength and reach their full potential” and acknowledged “mentoring encourages educational achievement, reduces juvenile delinquency, improves life outcomes and strengthens communities.”
Given the many demands on our time and the importance of time with family and other responsibilities, it can be difficult to find the time to work to help prepare young people outside our families with what they need to lead dynamic lives. I express my deepest gratitude to the countless Americans who are taking the time to help guide young people in our communities on successful paths. This includes all those supporting and advising youth through their examples as positive role models and through assisting with programs and projects that seek to provide opportunities for young people. You are making a difference.
America’s youth are truly our greatest asset. They are the thought-leaders, pioneers and progress-makers of tomorrow. Helping them capitalize on the experience of predecessors will give them a leg up for overcoming current and future challenges, and channeling their wonder and energy into knowledge and success advances our country. Thank you, mentors, for all you are doing for America’s youth, our communities and our nation.