Written by: Katy Timmer, Mentor Michigan AmeriCorps*VISTA Member
Hi! I’m Katy Timmer, a second-year AmeriCorps*VISTA serving with the Mentor Michigan team at the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC). Mentor Michigan is a statewide partnership of more than 250 youth mentoring organizations. Mentor Michigan works to ensure all youth have ongoing relationships with stable, caring individuals. Along with the Mentor Michigan team, my time is largely dedicated to supporting youth mentoring programs across the state through outreach, resources, training and technical assistance, and helping volunteers connect with mentoring programs in their area, among other tasks.
As I approach the halfway point of my second year of service and reflect on the last year and a half, I think of all I have learned as well as the personal and professional growth I have experienced in such a short period. My experience serving as an AmeriCorps*VISTA with Mentor Michigan and the MCSC, as well as volunteering through Big Brothers Big Sisters and Girl Scouts, has altered my path in life, in an unexpectedly positive way. I am about to begin my second semester in the Youth Development Specialist Graduate Program at Michigan State University, a career path inspired by the service opportunities I have been afforded. January is the 2011 Michigan Mentoring Month, which provides a perfect opportunity to celebrate and reflect on our own life-changing experiences, and take time to “Pass It On.”
The annual Michigan and National Mentoring Month – held every January – provides an opportunity to recognize the impact of volunteer mentors, recruit additional individuals to serve, and celebrate the efforts of mentoring matches across the state. The Michigan Mentoring Month theme is “Pass It On” because we believe sharing a little of yourself with a young person can reward both of you with lifelong benefits.
Help us spread the word about the impact of mentoring in Michigan! Visit www.mentormichigan.org to explore the 2011 Michigan Mentoring Month Toolkit, which contains resources and ideas to help promote activities, thank mentors, and recruit new mentors. Make sure to check out the 2011 Michigan Mentoring Month Projects document to learn more about the great events and activities held across the state by local mentoring programs!
In addition to these events, there are three special opportunities to highlight and support mentoring as part of the 2011 Michigan Mentoring Month:
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on Monday, January 17, 2011. Consider volunteering; creating a service opportunity for your employees, colleagues, students, or community members to participate in; or just build awareness about service with those around you.
Thank Your Mentor Day on Thursday, January 25. On that day, we encourage you to reach out to thank or honor those individuals who encouraged and guided you, and had a lasting impact on your life.
Mentoring Night at the Palace on Saturday, January 22, features the Detroit Pistons and the Palace at Auburn Hills celebrating mentoring and they want you to join them! Come participate in the first-ever "Mentoring Night at the Palace" and watch the Pistons take on the Phoenix Suns at 7:30 p.m. Throughout the evening a special emphasis will be placed on mentoring.
For more information and to purchase tickets at a discounted rate, please visit: http://www.nba.com/pistons/tickets/mentor_michigan.html. For every ticket sold through this website Mentor Michigan will receive $5, which will be distributed through a statewide funding opportunity at a later date in the form of Detroit Pistons mini-grants.
Help us make mentoring count in Michigan!