Since 2002, January has been officially designated as National Mentoring Month. It is a time when individuals from across the country offer to devote their time to young people in their community and make a positive difference. Whether it’s a short-term commitment or long-term where the relationship lasts over a year, the time you spend with a young person can have a lasting impact. If you’re interested in becoming a mentor in your area, here’s how you can get involved.

See What’s Available

The easiest way to find volunteering options is to use the zip code search on the Mentor.org website. This allows you to quickly tell what’s available in your region including the program type, age of youth served, and specific location. You will also be provided with a link to learn more about each program. This way you can see what you’re most interested in and if any mentoring programs match your unique abilities and skill set. If you don’t have the time to participate, you can also make a donation through the link provided. It’s easy to do and starts with increments of $25, but can go all the way up to $1,000 or more.

Search for Specific Programs or Locations

In the event that you have a specific type of program or location in mind, you can search via the Volunteer Referral Service (VRS) to see what’s available. This allows you to narrow your search down by several criteria like zip code, distance, location, program type and age of youth served. From there, you will get in depth information and see what’s out there. If you can’t find something that matches your criteria exactly, there’s a good chance that you’ll find something similar.

Check Out the Toolkit and Digital Materials

After this, it’s a good idea to get more acquainted with the program and see what it’s all about. You can find everything you need through www.mentoring.org, where you can download the 2015 National Mentoring Month Campaign Kit. This contains a wealth of information and will get you up to speed on the history of the campaign, its goals and important dates. You can also get digital materials like a Facebook cover photo for your profile, a web badge, web banners and images.

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