President Barack Obama addresses mentors and mentees from across the nation in a White House celebration of National Mentoring Month.
President Barack Obama addresses mentors and mentees from across the nation in a White House celebration of National Mentoring Month.

President and First Lady Highlight Importance of Mentoring

On January 20, 2010, President and Mrs. Obama hosted a White House ceremony that included mentors and mentees from across the country to increase public awareness of the benefits of mentoring. The President announced a year-long mentoring program for young men from Washington, DC, area high schools that will pair youth with mentors from inside the White House as part of National Mentoring Month. In November 2009, the First Lady initiated a similar program for young women.

"Studies have shown that young people in mentoring relationships get better grades in school, they're less likely to drink, they're less likely to do drugs," President Obama said. "And you ask any successful person how they got to where they are today, chances are they'll tell you about a mentor they had somewhere along the way."

The White House Mentoring Program includes workshops that provide information and resources to help youth maximize their educational potential, serve their communities, and begin exploring potential careers. The program also aims to increase the youth's knowledge about how the federal government is structured and introduce them to government officials and the work they do. In addition, students will have the opportunity to enjoy artistic, cultural, and recreational opportunities in the Washington, DC, area.

"Each of us has the ability to move beyond the circumstances that we were born into," said Mrs. Obama. "That's really the story of both me and the President, that through hard work and perseverance, that you can actually choose the life that you want to live—it's your choice."

The White House event was attended by mentors and mentees from youth mentoring programs across America, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Latin American Youth Center, Journey 4-H Mentoring, Asian Professional Extension, Inc., and many other programs.

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