Research demonstrates that quality mentoring relationships significantly benefit young people, especially those perceived to be at risk. Mentors provide them with the confidence, resources, continuity, and support they need to achieve their potential. As detailed in MENTOR’S 2013 issue brief Mentoring: Investments in Positive Youth Outcomes this critical support approach positively impacts academic achievement, workforce development, and juvenile justice outcomes.

Public policy that supports quality mentoring programs is vital to ensuring that mentoring is leveraged as a strategy in all areas of youth development.

During the 113th Congress, several key issues affecting mentoring opportunities and mentoring programs are at stake—including funding for mentoring, passage of the Child Protection Improvements Act that affects background checks for individuals volunteering with or employed by mentoring programs, and inclusion of mentoring in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The mentoring community is working together to secure funding for mentoring programs. A coalition of leaders from national youth mentoring organizations as well asmentoring champions in the U.S. House of Representatives have asked that $100 million be included in the federal fiscal year 2014 budget for the Youth Mentoring Grants program, a program of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. In the past, our strength as a coalition has been successful in quadrupling this type of funding and in creating a pilot background check program. But, we have more work ahead of us if we are to bring quality mentoring opportunities to more young people.

Your voice is critical in these efforts. Legislators listen to the views of their constituents. That means you have the power to influence the outcome of legislation, simply by communicating your views to your legislators. Learn more about our Legislative Agenda for the 13th Congress and join the Advocacy Network to receive email updates on mentoring issues.

Get informed, make your voice heard and take action today!