Mentoring Month being celebrated in Elizabethton and Carter County

Published 11:30 am Friday, January 20, 2023

January is National Mentoring Month, and the annual campaign aimed at expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect more of our community’s young people with caring adults is being celebrated in Elizabethton and Carter County. PEAK Mentorship Program, supported by grants provided to Elizabethton Parks and Recreation and Carter County Drug Prevention from the National Recreation and Parks Association, matches at-risk youth with caring adults and requests that they meet once per week for a full year to create lasting and meaningful relationships.

Research shows that mentors play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to make responsible choices, attend and engage in school, and reduce or avoid risky behavior. In turn, these young people are:
* 55% more likely to be enrolled in college
* 81% more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities.
* 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities.
* More than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team.

Yet, the same research shows that one in three young people in our country will grow up without a mentor. National Mentoring Month is the time of year where engagement from community members interested in becoming a mentor is highest. This year, with the support of the mentoring community, we are encouraging the public to go beyond just digital engagement — and become involved in real life. Mentoring relationships are at their best when connections are made between a caring adult and a young person who knows that someone is there to help guide them through life choices.

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Anyone age 21+ can begin the process to become a mentor. Mentors are matched with youth who have similar interests, locations and availability to ensure youth have a caring adult they can truly connect with.

National Mentoring Month is led by MENTOR, the national unifying champion of the mentoring movement. Each year since its launch in 2002, the campaign has enjoyed the strong support of the President and the United States Congress. Other well-known supporters include the late Maya Angelou, Clint Eastwood, Senator John McCain, Quincy Jones, General Colin L. Powell, Cal Ripken Jr., MENTOR co-founder Bill Russell, and Usher. In 2016, President Barack Obama’s office shared a National Mentoring Month press release highlighting the crucial role that mentors play in young people’s lives.

Local leaders have stepped up in support of the PEAK Mentorship Program which serves youth in Carter and Johnson counties and surrounding areas. Elizabethton’s City Council and Mayor Curt Alexander proclaimed January to be National Mentoring Month in the City of Elizabethton, as did Mayor Patty Woodby for Carter County.

To learn more about the role mentoring plays in our community, refer youth to the program or volunteer to become a mentor, visit https://www.facebook.com/elizabethtonmentors or contact Jilian at director@cartercountydrugprevention.org.