In our youth, we must learn the behaviors and habits of successful adults − how to treat others, how to overcome failure, and how to give back to our communities, for example.  Many learn these things from their parents, grandparents, or other family members.  Too many, however, lack ready access to strong, compassionate adult role models.  During National Mentoring Month, we thank the millions of Americans who set aside time to invest in the lives of our Nation’s youth as volunteer mentors.  Because of them, children who would otherwise have to learn the ways of the adult world on their own are guided to become successful and responsible adults.  The work of those who mentor the next generation makes profound impressions on the lives of their mentees, improves our communities, and strengthens our Nation.

Every day, mentors fill critical needs in our communities.  They serve as role models to children, and their faithful presence often makes a tremendous difference in the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual development of their mentees.  Mentors tutor in academics, coach athletics, and provide wisdom and guidance for all of life’s decisions.  They help build self-esteem, develop character, and encourage learning and leadership skills in America’s youth.  Their dedication and commitment convey to both their mentees and the world that every human has God-given value and worthwhile hopes and dreams.

As we celebrate National Mentoring Month, I encourage every American to consider how they might use their time and talents to help transform the life of a child, whether as teachers, friends, educators, clergy, or community leaders.  Our Nation’s mentors are as diverse as our citizenry, but they all share a common commitment: building a better life for our youth and a brighter future for our country.