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January is National Mentoring Month, and this year Project Uplift is celebrating the annual campaign aimed at expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect more of our community’s young people with caring adults. Therefore, join us as both Mayors of the cities of Auburn and Opelika proclaim January as “National Mentoring Month" in Auburn and Opelika. The event will take place on Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. in 202 Cary Hall on the campus of Auburn University.

“As we celebrate mentoring in the month of January and throughout the year, we are looking with great anticipation of the many children on waiting lists to be finally matched with caring adults of the Lee County community, thus offering them a friend who will help them towards endless possibilities,” said Chris Nunn, coordinator of Project Uplift.

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% more likely to be enrolled in college
– 81% more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities
– 78% 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 hundreds of young people who could benefit from having a mentor outside their family.

At the same time, research shows that 44% of adults are not yet mentoring but are willing to consider it and mentoring is poised for growth. Eighteen to twenty-nine year-olds are more than twice as likely to cite having had a mentor in their childhood than those over 50. Almost half of today’s young adults report having a mentor in their youth and those rates appear to have been rising steadily over the past several decades.

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.
National Mentoring Month is led by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, the national organization working to expand the quality and quantity of youth mentoring relationships nationwide. Each year since its launch in 2002, National Mentoring Month has enjoyed the strong support of the President of the United States and US 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.

To learn more about the role mentoring plays in our community and to find volunteer opportunities visit www.auburn.edu/projectuplift or contact Chris Nunn at (334) 844-6898.

Project Uplift is an agency whose main goal is to help children develop constructive, happy lives, so delinquency in our county will decrease. Project Uplift is a program of the Lee County Youth Development Center. Additional major support comes from the cities of Opelika and Auburn, and the United Way of Lee County. The Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University provides in-kind services and office space.