This January marks the 19th annual National Mentoring Month, a campaign aimed at expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect more youth with caring adults. Research has shown that when matched through a quality mentoring program, mentors can play a powerful role in providing young adults with the tools to make responsible decisions, stay focused and engaged in school. Mentoring is linked to improved academic, social, and economic prospects for young adults, which ultimately strengthens our communities.

Mentoring is a vital component of the CTN model because we recognize the value of powerful, positive mentoring. January 29th was designated as Thank Your Mentor Day, and we would like to recognize and offer thanks to all the mentors in our program during this National Mentoring Month.

There are several mentoring options in the CTN program including mentoring at the colleges for students, peer scholar mentors, and peer mentoring via site visits.

On campuses CTN mentors serve as role models of academic and professional success to students, helping them develop professional/networking skills and strengthening the students’ social and cultural capital. Instructors utilize CTN mentors as role models and speakers to support students’ writing and augment counseling resources to explore possible career goals. Mentors emphasize the value of “giving back” to our community, offer ongoing encouragement for students and provide a vital link between the local community and the college campus.

Catch the Next also has cultivated a network of scholars, authors, artists, activists, and community leaders from across the nation who all believe mightily in contributing to the success of the students. Our Professional Mentoring Network is designed to create partnerships among the teams at colleges and the author, scholar, and community leadership mentors who have joined our familia. Peer mentors may serve a variety of roles depending on the needs of the particular college and student cohort. All mentors may participate in our monthly webinars; author and/or community leadership mentors may appear at colleges or in classes as guest speakers; and scholar mentors may contribute to college research and evaluation or partner with practitioners.

CTN also encourages peer mentoring through its site visits to meet the needs of faculty, staff, students, and the institution as a whole; to ensure consistency of the Catch the Next model in practice, while recognizing that all effective programs remain adaptable and flexible to the culture and needs of individual institutions and to provide feedback for us to incorporate into our professional development and peer mentoring models.

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