Governor Granholm Declares January Mentoring Month

Contact: Heidi Watson 517-335-6397

Mentor Michigan

December 29, 2005

Joins First Gentleman in Encouraging Residents to Mentor a Child

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm declared January Mentoring Month and is calling on people around the state to step forward and mentor children in their community.  The Governor's proclamation coincides with the observance of National Mentoring Month in January.

"Mentoring transforms the lives of children and adults," Granholm said.  "By strengthening our children through mentoring, we are building a stronger future for them, our communities, and our great state."

As attorney general, Granholm created the Mentor Michigan Initiative, now lead by First Gentleman Daniel G. Mulhern.  Mentor Michigan is a statewide effort to raise awareness about the need for mentors and the benefits associated with mentoring.  As a result of the Initiative, organizations across the state are coming together to encourage people to mentor a child.

The Governor and First Gentleman mentor children from the Lansing area and are among the 99 percent of mentors who would recommend mentoring to others.  They believe the experience enriches many more lives than the life of the mentee.

"Mentoring is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have" Mulhern said.  "Our experience with mentoring has enriched our family's life as well as the lives of our mentees."

The First Gentleman is urging men, particularly men of color, to step forward to mentor children in Michigan.

Mulhern cited a recent study released by Kahle Research Solutions, Inc. that showed only 33 percent of mentors in Michigan are men.  The study also showed that while 36 percent of the mentees are children of color, only 24 percent of the mentors are people of color. This disparity creates a dilemma for mentoring programs trying to match children with mentors from the same ethnic and gender backgrounds.
 
"Mentoring programs from across the state have expressed the desire to put the ‘men' back in mentoring," Mulhern said.  "Many programs are not enrolling boys, because there are no male mentors available.  This is a missed opportunity for everyone who stands to benefit from mentoring."

As part of Mentoring Month, Granholm, Mulhern, former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, and Detroit Pistons player Chauncey Billups are being featured in televised public service announcements promoting mentoring.  The First Gentleman and the Governor are encouraging mentors across the state to celebrate National Mentoring Month by recruiting their friends and family to be mentors.
 
Additionally, the Michigan Community Service Commission, chaired by Mulhern, has program information and resources on the Mentor Michigan website to help future mentors find an available mentoring organization in their community.

For more information, call 1-800-VOLUNTEER or visit www.mentormichigan.org.

Mentor Michigan is managed by the Michigan Community Service Commission, a state agency that builds a culture of service by providing vision and resources to strengthen communities through volunteerism.  Visit www.michigan.gov/mcsc or call (517) 335-4295 for more information.