The biggest challenge for a small, growing mentoring program can be convincing caring adults to take the first step and volunteer to help a child. To that end, Baltimore's Liberty Learning Center, an afterschool facility founded in 2005 for inner-city youth, will use this year's National Mentoring Month as a springboard to gain greater exposure and enlist more adults in its cause.
Director Steve Molling says the center will hold a special training session in January for mentors recruited through Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree Project, the nationwide program that supplies Christmas gifts to children of inmates. "These mentors are committed to going beyond buying a Christmas gift and will become mentors to children with incarcerated parents for the entire year," he says.
Because Liberty Learning relies on gifts from community organizations, churches and corporations to keep its programs running, Molling says January's month-long, profile-boosting celebration will be a time to more deeply involve current volunteers and donors and bring in new ones, setting the momentum for the rest of the year.
Rather than focusing solely on publicizing National Mentoring Month in January, the center will partner with local radio stations to announce the eight annual mentoring celebrations it will host throughout 2010, including events marking Valentine's Day, the start of summer and the back-to-school season. Celebrities, including professional sports players, politicians and musicians, will be recruited to host these citywide mentoring events.
"We expect National Mentoring Month to be the kick-off of the biggest mentoring year ever for our program," Molling says.
Liberty Learning is partly funded by the Family and Youth Services Bureau, Administration for Children and Families. To read more about its mission and history or to volunteer for any of its programs visit http://llcbaltimore.net.
For more information about National Mentoring Month, including how to become a mentor, go to http://www.serve.gov/mentor.asp.
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