January 25, 2023                                                            

Contact: Betsy Shelton
Volunteer Iowa
515.348.6228 / 800.308.5987

DES MOINES, Iowa – January is National Mentoring Month and Iowa MENTOR and its partner programs are celebrating this annual campaign aimed at expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect more of our community’s young people with caring adults.

Governor Kim Reynolds declared National Mentoring Month in Iowa in a proclamation signing, recognizing the fact that every day, quality mentoring programs in Iowa connect mentors to our young people and cultivate relationships that provide crucial support and guidance as they grow and develop into our next generation of leaders.

Research shows that mentors play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to make responsible choices, attend and engage in school, and reduce or avoid risky behavior. In turn, these young people are 55% more likely to be enrolled in college than those who did not have a mentor, 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities and more than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team.

Future Ready Iowa’s mentoring program is helping Iowans achieve both college and career goals. Through this unique mentoring experience, high school students and Future Ready Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to connect with AmeriCorps College Access and Success coaches, be matched with mentors in the workforce, and receive virtual mentoring via text.

National Mentoring Month is the time of year where engagement from community members interested in becoming a mentor is highest. This year, with the support of the mentoring community, we are encouraging the public to go beyond just digital engagement and become involved in real life. Mentoring relationships are at their best when connections are made between a caring adult and a young person who knows that someone is there to help guide them through life choices.

Everyone can get involved by remembering their mentors and thanking them. Thursday, January 26 is “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.

“Mentoring programs have leveraged National Mentoring Month as an opportunity to not only raise awareness but to get their communities engaged in this effort to provide a critical support to our young people,” said Mary Sheka, Director of Iowa MENTOR. ‘It’s only with this level of commitment and involvement that we can ensure every young person has the supportive relationships they need to grow and develop into thriving, productive and engaged adults.”

To learn more about the role mentoring plays in our community and to find volunteer opportunities, visit

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About Iowa MENTOR
Iowa MENTOR works to promote, support and build quality mentoring relationships by elevating the capacity of programs, systems, and policies that foster proven results for Iowa. We envision an Iowa where every young person has the supportive, caring adult relationships needed to grow and develop into thriving, productive, and engaged adults. Iowa MENTOR is an initiative of Volunteer Iowa and an affiliate of MENTOR national and works to build relationships between government, private, and public agencies in support of youth mentoring.

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.

About MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership
MENTOR is the unifying champion for expanding the quality and quantity of mentoring relationships across the United States. MENTOR was created more than 30 years ago to expand opportunities for young people by building a youth mentoring field and movement. The result: a more than 10-fold increase in young people in mentoring relationships. Today, MENTOR is the expert voice representing a movement that meets young people everywhere they are – from schools, to workplaces, and beyond. MENTOR operates in collaboration with 24 Affiliates providing local servant leadership and expertise across the nation, with several more in development.