Governor's Radio Address Encourages Mentoring

Contact: Liz Boyd 517-335-6397

June 13, 2008

LANSING - First Gentleman Daniel G. Mulhern today said that father figures play an important role in the lives of children, and Father's Day represents the ideal time for thousands of Michigan men to consider becoming mentors.  Mulhern made his remarks in delivering this week's radio address on behalf of Governor Jennifer M. Granholm.

"Many men here in Michigan are positive role models who could make a life-changing difference for a boy in their community.  An estimated 35,000 children are being mentored in Michigan, but only 35 percent of mentors are men," Mulhern said.  "As we reflect on the father figures in our lives this weekend, why not consider becoming a big brother, a father figure in a child's life.  You'll be changing the world two lives at a time."

Mulhern noted that scientific studies are clear: having a father figure is a grounding influence in the life of a child - they help kids perform better in school, adjust more positively with their peers, and ultimately become more successful.

"I feel blessed to live in this extraordinary time to be a man and be a dad.  While our wives can now excel in the public world, we can thrive in the home environment.  Sure, we still teach them to ride a bike, handle a saw, or throw a spiral," Mulhern said.  "But today's fathers are also doing homework, driving carpools, and being there in the moment for their kids.  A father figure is more instrumental than ever in the development of children."

The governor's weekly radio address is released each Friday morning and may be heard on broadcast stations across the state.  The address is available on the governor's Web site at (www.michigan.gov/gov) for download, together with a clip of the quote above.  The radio address is also available as a podcast on the Web site, as well as on iTunes and via RSS feed for general distribution to personal MP3 players and home computers.  Links to the audio files and text of today's address follow.

First Gentleman Dan Mulhern
Radio Address - Father's Day
June 13, 2008

Full:  http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gov/Gov149_Full_237934_7.mp3
Edited:  http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gov/Gov149_Edit_237935_7.mp3
Quote:  http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gov/Gov149_Quote_237937_7.mp3

Hi, I'm Dan Mulhern, First Gentleman of the State of Michigan, speaking to you on behalf of my wife, Governor Jennifer Granholm.

We're taking time out to recognize an important calendar milestone this Sunday.  Throughout the nation - we celebrate Father's Day. 

I often chuckle when I hear that great fatherhood quote by Mark Twain, who once said, "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he'd learned in seven years."

Mark Twain's words about fatherhood eventually resonate with most children, even I hope, my own.   And fathers of all ages understand the nugget of truth in Twain's words - as our life perspective changes, so do the opinions we hold of those around us - including the thanks we have for our own fathers.  

I feel blessed to live in this extraordinary time to be a man and be a dad.  While our wives can now excel in the public world, we can thrive in the home environment.  Sure, we still teach them to ride a bike, handle a saw, or throw a spiral.  But today's fathers are also doing homework, driving carpools, and being there in the moment for their kids.  A father figure is more instrumental than ever in the development of children. 

Studies are clear: Having a father figure is a grounding influence in the life of a child.  They help kids perform better in school, adjust more positively with their peers, and ultimately become more successful.

To reinforce this idea, The Michigan Department of Human Services offers classes through the Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Initiative that aims to improve the lives of children by promoting Dads.  The classes support active, positive male parenting involvement, co-parenting efforts and encourage healthy, long term adult relationships of couples - all of which is good for Michigan's children.
We're also working to put the men in mentoring.  Many men here in Michigan are positive role models who could make a life-changing difference for a boy in their community. 
An estimated 35,000 children are being mentored in Michigan, but only 35 percent of mentors are men.  And the majority of the 4,000 children waiting for mentors are boys.  Working together we can improve that percentage.
As we reflect on the father figures in our lives this weekend, why not consider becoming a big brother, a father figure in a child's life.  You'll be changing the world two lives at a time.

To learn more visit:
www.michigan.gov/mentormichigan

Thank you for listening.

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