January is National Mentoring Month and this afternoon President Obama and the First Lady will welcome mentors and young Americans from around the country. As we gather in the East Room, organizations and community groups dedicated to supporting our nation's young people will come together to reaffirm the importance of mentorship. The President will also announce the White House Mentorship Program for 20 young men from local high schools. Each student was nominated by his school and will be paired with an Administration staffer for one year. This program will allow the participants to serve our local community and students will be encouraged to pursue excellence in school as well as expand their horizons as they are introduced to numerous opportunities for personal development, including career skills. Mentorship has long been a priority for both the President and Mrs. Obama, as a part of their commitment to their community and personal responsibility. The First Lady launched her initiative for young women this past November and they’re already off to a great start. Check out a video of the First Lady and senior Administration women on a mentoring trip to Denver to see this initiative in action.
All of us are excited to begin this important work and we’re proud that this is the first time the White House has offered such a program. Last June, the President launched a National Conversation on Fatherhood and Personal Responsibility. This is an important corollary to that effort. We know that a responsible, caring adult taking the time to mentor a young person often makes an incredibly positive difference in the lives of both.
Michael Strautmanis is Chief of Staff to the Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Engagement