January is Mentoring Month across Canada – and throughout North America, and this year Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada is celebrating the annual campaign aimed at connecting more of our community’s young people with caring adults.

The two-way, back and forth relationship between a mentor and mentee positively impacts brain development and equips youth with the skills needed to deal with adversities and stress they face in a complicated world.

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 behaviors. In turn, these young people are:

  • 43% less likely to have conduct problems in school
  • Twice as likely to have high academic achievement
  • 17% more likely to be gainfully employed as adults
  • 34% less likely to allow themselves to be victimized or bullied by peers
  • Have stronger social networks and report being happier and more confident

While mentors from all regions and cultural backgrounds across the gender spectrum are needed, the demand for male volunteers is especially high. Volunteering for only one hour a week can truly change the course of a young life.

“Many young Canadians struggle with societal barriers and face adversities in their lives like detrimental living conditions and family violence, mental health and school issues as well as identity challenges,” said Peter Coleridge, National President and CEO, BBBSC.

“Simply having someone who listens and encourages them, youth can transform into confident and motivated young people and, more importantly, break cycles of poverty and crime and curb the development of mental health issues.”

This  year’s campaign encourages 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 those real life decisions.

Here are some dates to remember and ways you can Participate in #MentoringMonth:

  • January 4, 2018 – I Am a Mentor Day: Your own mentoring story can inspire others to mentor in real life! Join the #IAmAMentor campaign and show your appreciation for someone whose guidance you value! Simply take a picture or video with a message about your mentor and then share with us (@bbbsc) on social media.
  • January 17, 2018 – International Mentoring Day
  • January 25, 2018 – #ThankYourMentor Day: An opportunity to thank those who helped you on your path.

To learn more about the role mentoring plays in our community and to find volunteer opportunities visit our mentoring month event page.

Celebrate Mentoring Month this January. Imagine who they can become because of you.