EVANSTON — January is National Mentoring Month, and this year, NextGen Mentoring is celebrating the annual campaign aimed at expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect more of the community’s young people with caring adults by joining them for a mix and mingle at the Beeman-Cashin Building, where you can learn more about the program and hear how mentoring has impacted the lives of local youth.
The event is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 29, from 7-8 p.m., and it will include refreshments and raffle items.
“National Mentoring Month is a great way for us to recognize the many mentors in our lives. We have all benefited from a mentor, whether we recognized them as a mentor or not. Mentors help our youth transition from childhood to adulthood and can give us valuable knowledge we can use throughout our lives. Help us reach out to our youth in Evanston by becoming a mentor in a structured program,” said Bethany Shidler, program coordinator of NextGen Mentoring.
Research shows that mentors play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to strive and thrive, to attend and engage in school, and to reduce or avoid risky behavior like drug use. In turn, these young people are:
• 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college
• 81 percent more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities
• 78 percent 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. Today, in our community there are many young people who could benefit from having a mentor outside their family.
National Mentoring Month is the time of year where engagement from community members interested in becoming a mentor is highest. With the support of the mentoring community, officials are encouraging the public to go beyond just digital engagement, and become involved in real life.
In our community, people can participate in the following events:
• Proclamation signing with Evanston Mayor Kent Williams at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 16, at City Hall.
• NextGen Mentoring community service project from 7-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at BOCES room 304. Participants will make more than 200 Valentine’s Day cards for senior citizens.
• Mix and mingle from 7-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at the Beeman-Cashin Building. Event will include refreshments and raffle items, along with the opportunity to learn more about the value of mentoring and hearing stories of those who have benefited from mentoring.
• Share your mentoring story with others at www.mentoring.org/stories. Fill out the information and story fields — you can upload your story or type it out in the text box. Make sure to include a photo or video to make your story come to life. Hit submit.