How Best to Celebrate ‘Thank Your Mentor Day’ on Jan. 26

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Rob Reeves and Allen Raymond at the recent celebration of Raymond's 89th birthday.

As a highlight of National Mentoring Month 2012, Thank Your Mentor Day will be celebrated on Thursday, January 26. On that day, many Americans will reach out to thank or honor those individuals who encouraged and guided them, and had a lasting, positive impact on their lives.

Spearheaded by the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR and the Corporation for National and Community Service and supported by the YMCA of the USA, this year’s campaign tagline is Invest in the Future. Mentor a Child.

Mentors, backed by quality mentoring programs, play a powerful role in preventing substance abuse and youth violence, as well as boosting academic achievement and workforce readiness. Studies have shown a more than 250 percent return on a $1 investment in mentoring and a myriad of quality of life benefits to the mentor, too. Mentors help build young people’s character and confidence, expand their universe and help them navigate pathways to successful adulthood.

“National Mentoring Month gives the mentoring field an opportunity to collectively celebrate the proven impact of quality programs and the impactful service of mentors nationwide while also sounding the call to grow the movement through increased volunteerism and financial investment ,” said MENTOR’s President and CEO David Shapiro.

Though the focus of National Mentoring Month is in preparing our nation’s youth for a bright future, Thank Your Mentor Day allows us to celebrate the contributions of all those who cultivate a supportive environment for the next generation — regardless of age.

Family Y CEO Rob Reeves was fortunate to have the opportunity to personally thank one of his mentors this past weekend, when he joined other community leaders in celebrating Allen Raymond’s 89th birthday.

Reeves credited Raymond with “getting me up to speed quickly” when Reeves took over as the Y’s CEO in late 2009, he told local columnist Dan Woog at the celebration. In addition to his service to a host of local charitable organizations, Raymond was Y President from 1962-’64.

“Allen told me a lot about the history of Westport, and the Y,” Reeves was quoted in the “06880″ blog account. “He brought me around, and introduced me to people the Y has been important to. He was such an important connection.”

Thank Your Mentor Day promotes “Four Ways to Honor Your Mentor”:

  1. Contact your mentor directly to express your appreciation;
  2. Pass on what you received by becoming a mentor to a young person in your community;
  3. Make a financial contribution to a local mentoring program; and,
  4. Write a tribute to your mentor for posting on the “Who Mentored You?” website.

You can download a Thank you card from the Campaign Marketing Materials page.

The Westport Weston Family Y has an array of local volunteer opportunities from which to choose, from a one-shot duty at a special Y event, or a longer-term commitment to mentor local youth. To discuss a volunteer role that’s right for you, contact David Cohen, Vice President of Operations, at 203-226-8981 or dcohen@westporty.org.

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