January | February 2012

OJJDP Co-Hosts Second Annual National Mentoring Summit

2012 National Mentoring Summit logo.

January 2012 marked the 11th anniversary of National Mentoring Month, a large-scale public service campaign held each year to recruit volunteer mentors to help young people achieve their full potential.

On January 24–25, 2012, OJJDP joined with other partners, including MENTOR, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Harvard School of Public Health, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and United Way Worldwide to host the second annual National Mentoring Summit in Washington, DC. The summit brought together major youth mentoring organizations, along with government, civic, research, and corporate leaders to evaluate best practices, review new research, and chart the mentoring field's future.

The theme for this year's event, "Invest in the Future: Mentor a Child," promoted the long-term benefits that an investment in quality mentoring can offer young people, their mentors, and their communities.

Photo of OJJDP Acting Administrator Melodee Hanes.
OJJDP Acting Administrator Melodee Hanes offered introductory remarks on the opening day.
In remarks on the summit's opening day, OJJDP Acting Administrator Melodee Hanes emphasized the effectiveness of mentoring as a tool to keep at-risk kids on track and help ensure a productive future for system-involved youth. "Mentoring works. Mentoring relationships have been shown to improve youth's self-esteem, instill more positive attitudes and behavior, reduce the likelihood of drug and alcohol abuse, reduce violent behavior, and enhance academic performance," Hanes said. "For these reasons, OJJDP has long supported mentoring, awarding more than $480 million since 1994 to support mentoring programs."

The 2012 summit featured an update on the Corporate Mentoring Challenge issued by First Lady Michelle Obama. At last year's summit, Mrs. Obama called on U.S. corporations to identify ways to engage their workforce in mentoring activities that help young people in the communities where these corporations operate gain leadership skills, achieve their educational goals, and increase their confidence. At last year's launch of the challenge, 17 corporations announced their commitment to expand or launch an employee-based mentoring program. To date, more than 100 companies have committed to this challenge.

Representatives of major corporations participated in a Corporate Leadership Session in which strategies for deepening private sector investment and volunteerism were discussed. Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Joshua DuBois and Chief of Staff of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs Michael Strautmanis moderated the session.

Mentoring experts led 35 workshops on a range of topics, including:

  • Academic mentoring in action
  • College partnerships for mentoring
  • College students as mentors
  • Developing corporate partners into champions for youth mentoring
  • Developing mentoring programs in partnership with tribal communities
  • Expanding and sustaining mentoring programs through strategic partnerships
  • Helping mentees see college in their future
  • Measuring and tracking success
  • Men in mentoring
  • Mentoring gay youth
  • Mentoring programs for adjudicated youth and children of incarcerated parents
  • Mentoring youth with disabilities and learning differences
  • School-based mentoring in urban settings
  • Using evidence for continuous improvements in achieving youth outcomes
  • What research says about mentoring

OJJDP staff hosted a 90-minute session at which they provided an overview of the Office's philosophy on mentoring and comprehensive information about OJJDP's mentoring programs. In fiscal year 2011, OJJDP awarded more than $80 million through appropriations for mentoring programs, research, and training and technical assistance. OJJDP also awarded nearly $3 million through the Office's Tribal Youth National Mentoring program.

In October 2011, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Defense forged a partnership to award $20 million to nine organizations to support mentoring programs and services for youth with a parent in the military.

Resources:

For additional information about the 2012 National Mentoring Summit, visit MENTOR's Web site. To learn more about mentoring resources, go to the OJJDP Web site. Also visit the National Criminal Justice Service's Mentoring Resources Special Feature, which contains links to publications and related organizations, agencies, funding resources, and Web sites that focus on mentoring activities.