On This Father's Day, Consider Mentoring

Contact: Liz Boyd 517.335.6397

June 18, 2009

In radio address, First Gentleman Mulhern encourages adults to mentor youth

LANSING - As we approach Father's Day on Sunday, First Gentleman Daniel G. Mulhern today urged people to consider serving as mentors to Michigan youth.  Mulhern made his remarks in delivering this week's radio address on behalf of the governor.

"While Sunday is rightfully a day for fathers, consider a different perspective on this holiday," Mulhern said.  "What is Father's Day like for boys and girls who don't have a dad?  And what can be done to fill this void?"

Mulhern said one answer is Mentor Michigan, a program that's helping thousands of Michigan children receive guidance and inspiration from an adult.

"Mentor Michigan supports more than 200 organizations around the state that are changing lives by linking youth with adult mentors," Mulhern said.  "Mentor Michigan provides these organizations with training and research.  It also fosters partnerships with businesses, faith-based and nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and government to support mentoring."

Mulhern noted that children with mentors are 52 percent less likely to skip school, 46 percent less likely to begin using illegal drugs and 27 percent less likely to use alcohol.

"In 2008, Michigan had about 17,000 active mentors," Mulhern said.  "Mentor Michigan has a goal of recruiting 10,000 new mentors by 2010.  While the number of women serving as mentors is fantastic, male mentors are especially needed, because only 36 percent of the mentors in 2008 were men."

"Being a mentor doesn't require any special skills," Mulhern said.  "The only requirements are the ability to care and the willingness to spend time with a young person who needs you. If you're interested in becoming a mentor, simply call 1-800-VOLUNTEER."

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 Daniel Mulhern
Radio Address - Mentor Michigan

Full:  http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gov/Gov202Full_283174_7.mp3
Edited:  http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gov/Gov202Eidt_283176_7.mp3
Quote:  http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gov/Gov202Quote_283177_7.mp3

Hello, this is First Gentleman Dan Mulhern.

This Sunday is Father's Day, a day to honor fatherhood and male parenting.  The irony of Father's Day is that it was conceived by a woman listening to a church sermon about Mother's Day.  Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, rallied others to support a day for dads, and the first Father's Day was held June 19, 1910, in Spokane.

While Sunday is rightfully a day for fathers, consider a different perspective on this holiday.  What is Father's Day like for boys and girls who don't have a dad?  And what can be done to fill this void?  One answer is a program that's helping thousands of Michigan children who get guidance and inspiration from an adult - it's called Mentor Michigan.

Mentor Michigan supports more than 200 organizations around the state that are changing lives by linking youth with adult mentors.  Mentor Michigan provides these organizations with training and research.  It also fosters partnerships with businesses, faith-based and nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and government to support mentoring.

In 2008, almost 23,000 children had mentors in Michigan.  Some of these youth had a cognitive or physical disability, or an incarcerated parent.

Does mentoring work?  Consider this: children with mentors are 52 percent less likely to skip school, 46 percent less likely to begin using illegal drugs, and 27 percent less likely to use alcohol.

In 2008, Michigan had about 17,000 active mentors.  Mentor Michigan has a goal of recruiting 10,000 new mentors by 2010.  You know I'm going to ask you to think about being one of those 10,000.  But first here's an easy way for everyone to help.

If you're still looking for a Father's Day gift, consider giving or buying and using a Meijer gift card.  If you purchase a Meijer gift card worth $25 on Saturday only, $2 will be donated by Meijer to Mentor Michigan.  Meijer did a similar promotion last year, and, believe it or not, we raised $20,000 for Mentor Michigan.

Second, consider becoming a mentor.  While the number of women serving as mentors is fantastic, male mentors are especially needed, because only 36 percent of the mentors in 2008 were men.

Being a mentor doesn't require any special skills.  The only requirements are the ability to care and the willingness to spend time with a young person who needs you.  If you're interested in becoming a mentor, simply call 1-800-VOLUNTEER.

When prompted, you'll enter your zip code.  You'll be connected to the nearest volunteer center which will help place you with a local mentoring program.  Again, the number is 1-800-VOLUNTEER.  Jennifer and I love being mentors.  You would too.

Thank you for listening.  And Happy Father's Day!

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