Sens. Murphy, Blumenthal declare January National Mentoring Month

The Middletown Press

MIDDLETOWN — U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, both D-Connecticut, joined a bipartisan resolution led by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, Jan. 17, recognizing January as National Mentoring Month.

The designation is meant to raise awareness of the power of mentors to help young people determine their goals and reach their full potential, according to a news release. Murphy hosted one of his regular pancake breakfasts with mentors, mentees and volunteers from Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Connecticut, the Governor’s Prevention Partnership, and AmeriCorps to recognize National Mentoring Month Saturday.

“Data tells us the most impactful intervention in a kid’s life is having a positive role model. Often, that’s a mentor. I’m proud to cosponsor the resolution to highlight mentorship programs, encourage more people to join these programs, and transform more kids’ lives for the better,” Murphy said in a prepared statement.

“Everyone can think back to that one person in their lives who took them under their wing at a critical moment to open new doors and launch new possibilities. We owe a debt of gratitude to all the mentors who have shared their time, expertise and wisdom to give others a head start,” Blumenthal said in the release.

“We’re very grateful to Chris Murphy, Richard Blumenthal and their colleagues in the U.S. Senate for joining together in a bipartisan way to recognize the important contributions of mentors around the country,” said Andy Fleischmann, president and CEO of Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters.

At the Jan. 12 breakfast, Murphy gave Big Sister Ana Rodriguez, and Big Brothers Alex South and DiNatale — all from Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters — special commendations for their outstanding service, according to the release.

The Senate resolution recognizes the benefits of mentoring, as well as mentoring programs, and volunteers who serve as mentors. The resolution also highlights the positive effects of young people who have a mentor, the release said.

According to MENTOR: the National Mentoring Partnership, these benefits include students who are:

• 46 percent less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs

• 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college

• 81 percent more likely to report participation in sports or other extracurricular activities

• More than twice as likely to have had a leadership position in a club or sports team

• 78 percent more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities

The resolution recognizes an estimated 9 million young people feel isolated from meaningful connections with adults outside the home, constituting a “mentoring gap,” and understanding the importance of more adults investing their time in the future of America’s youth, according to Murphy’s office.