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Governor Proclaims January National Mentoring Month in Iowa



January 17, 2020

Contact: Mary Sheka

Iowa Mentoring Partnership, Volunteer Iowa

515.348.6236 / 800.308.5987

Governor Proclaims January National Mentoring Month in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa – Governor Reynolds will make an official proclamation January 21st declaring January as Mentoring Month in Iowa. January 2020 marks the 18th annual National Mentoring Month, and the Iowa Mentoring Partnership (IMP) is driving this campaign aimed imitating a dialogue on the importance of quality mentoring programs and the impact they have on youth in Iowa.

“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,” explained IMP Director Mary Sheka. “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, we are encouraging the public to go beyond just digital engagement – and become involved in real life.”

Research has shown that at risk youth who meet regularly with their mentors are 52 percent less likely than their peers to skip a day of school, 37 percent less likely to skip a class, and 46 percent less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs. Young adults who face an opportunity gap but have a mentor are 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college, have better school attendance and maintain better attitudes toward school. A study showed that the strongest benefit from mentoring, and most consistent across risk groups, was a reduction in depressive symptoms — particularly noteworthy given that almost one in four youth reported worrisome levels of these symptoms at baseline.

Today, in Iowa, over 9,000 mentors serve youth in programs certified by the Iowa Mentoring Partnership. However, thousands more Iowa youth could benefit from having a mentor.

Important dates for this public awareness campaign include:

  • January 8, 2020: “I Am a Mentor Day,” a day for volunteer mentors to celebrate their role and reflect on the ways mentees have enhanced their world on social media using #MentorIRL.
  • January 20, 2020: 25th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, a day to share in the inspirational words of Dr. MLK, Jr. and elevate the spirit of service through volunteerism.
  • January 21, 2020 at 3:30pm: Proclamation Signing, when Governor Reynolds will make an official proclamation declaring January as Mentoring Month in Iowa.
  • January 30, 2020: “Thank Your Mentor Day,” when we encourage anyone who has had a mentor to say thank you by sharing a photo on social media with #ThankYourMentor or by tagging Iowa Mentoring Partnership.

About Iowa Mentoring Partnership

The Iowa Mentoring Partnership (IMP) serves as the certifying body for youth mentoring programs in Iowa, advancing the quality of the mentoring field by providing professional development; engaging stakeholders to increase the number of mentors; and creating awareness of the positive benefits of youth mentoring as a proven youth development strategy. IMP is a collaborative program of Volunteer Iowa and works to build relationships between government, private, and public agencies in support of youth mentoring which is essential for strengthening families, communities and the state of Iowa. More information is available at

About Volunteer Iowa

Volunteer Iowa and its partner agencies work with organizations and individuals on three main fronts. The first is to help agencies develop quality programs that use service as a strategy to fulfill their missions and address Iowa’s greatest areas of need. The second is to help engage Iowans in their communities by promoting service and expanding the volunteer base. Finally, the third area of work is to connect individuals with appropriate service opportunities by building the volunteer infrastructure. More information is available at

About MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership

National Mentoring Month is led by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, with support from the Highland Street Foundation. Each year since its launch in 2002, National Mentoring Month has enjoyed the strong support of the president and the United States Congress. Other prominent individuals who have participated in the campaign include: Maya Angelou, former President Bill Clinton, Clint Eastwood, Quincy Jones, Cal Ripken Jr., Bill Russell and Usher. More information is available at


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