Did you know? January was National Mentoring Month! According to MENTOR, the National Mentoring Partnership, of the 18 million youth in need of a mentor, only 3 million receive mentorship, leaving a “Mentoring Gap” of over 15 million youth.
National Mentoring Month began in 2002 as a way to spread awareness and connect youth with quality mentorship opportunities. I was lucky enough to kick-off this year’s National Mentoring Month by training and learning from 40 coach-mentors from San Diego After-School All-Stars. These dedicated coach-mentors are committed to providing youth in underserved communities with a positive environment to grow and learn 24 weeks a year, 3 times per week as part of our Soccer for Success program.
This year, I also had the opportunity to attend the 2015 National Mentoring Summit, where I served as a workshop facilitator and discussed how Soccer for Success uses a unique group mentoring model to help bridge the Mentoring Gap for close to 30,000 youth throughout the country.
Although presenting at the Summit was an absolute honor, the highlight of the event was the culminating panel that featured inspiring stories from young people working at the intersection of mentoring and education. The panel included Karim Abouelnaga of Practice Makes Perfect, Lashon Amado of YouthBuild USA, Imani Henry of 100 Men Reading, and Amanda Matos of WomanHOOD. Each shared their touching personal stories and the incredible achievements that they have made in their lives so far – in large part due to the guidance they received from a positive caring adult.
Here at the Foundation, we are doing our part by using soccer to leverage the role of coach-mentors to provide youth across the country with a positive, caring adult to teach them essential life skills. If you are looking for a way to play your part in closing the Mentoring Gap, come to the Urban Soccer Symposium April 16th-19th at the Washington Marriott – Georgetown, to learn and network with experts in the field of sports-based youth development!