spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer
Skip Navigation and Go Directly to Page ContentHOME SeniorCorps SeniorCorps
 
 

forms Forms | Advanced Search
FONT SIZE:  Default  |  Large

spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
About Senior Corps 
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer
Hurricane Volunteer Support Fund
In the wake of the recent hurricanes, the Corporation is coordinating volunteers to assist with repair and relief efforts in areas affected by this devastating storm. Your donation will support volunteers in providing food and shelter, managing donations, helping victims get necessary assistance, and long-term rebuilding efforts.
spacer
 
USA Freedom Corps Partnering to Answer the President’s Call to Service
 
spacer
spacer
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Office of the CEO

   

Remarks by David Eisner at Mentoring Press Conference

 

Washington, DC

Thank you, Alan [Schwartz]. And thank you Secretary Jackson, a shining example of what it means to be a mentor. I want to thank my boss, Chairman Goldsmith, who has helped the Corporation arrive at our very aggressive strategic plan, including reaching out to 3 million more mentors. And there are so many other people I can thank: Gail Manza, who I think is one of the visionaries in the mentoring field. And our other Federal partners: Bob Flores, the Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, has really helped bring a lot of focus to the Federal efforts in this area; Harry Wilson, with Health and Human Services. And some of our nonprofit partners: Dan Cardinali with Communities in Schools, Jay Winsten with the Harvard Mentoring Project, and many, many others.

I’m so excited to be here because of this power of partnership. MENTOR and the Corporation have called the meeting, but I hope what you are beginning to see is that this is a broad network that includes the passion of the nonprofit sector, the creativity of private enterprise, and the scale and resources of the Federal government, all coming together with one goal—to close the mentoring gap—and with a specific target: by 2010 to hit 3 million more mentors.

You’ve heard a lot about how important mentoring is—what it can do to change the lives of young people, whether it’s keeping them away from gangs, drugs, crime and dropping out, or it’s improving academic achievement, job training, and so forth. We’re focused on fixing the barriers that are in the way. And there are two key barriers: One is that there is not enough mentoring happening, and the second is that the mentoring that is happening across the country right now is not as coordinated as it could be, and so we’re not getting our maximum bang for the buck.

And that’s why we’re here. So we’ve got the goal—all of our partners coming together. And we don’t just have a goal, we have a plan. And all of us at the Corporation, and really across the Federal government, salute MENTOR for the strong work that’s gone into producing the National Agenda for Action, which is a thoughtful, comprehensive road map.

Of course, the interest of the Federal government in closing the mentoring gap is self-evident. It means more education success, more employment, safer streets, fewer dropouts, fewer gangs, less investment in prisons. And at the Corporation I was particularly pleased to see this plan’s focus on infrastructure. At the Corporation we invest each year about $200 million in mentoring and mentoring-related services to kids. And some of our participants—whether it’s through Foster Grandparent, AmeriCorps, VISTA, Learn and Serve America—some of our participants are actually providing mentoring services. But what we’re really focused on is doing something even more important, which is building the capacity of the organizations and strengthening the mentoring infrastructure across the country, and building the organizations recruiting the volunteers making the systems work.

Last year, the organizations that we are supporting reached with our resources upwards of 400,000 children and youth, including tens of thousands of children of prisoners, and youth in and aging out of foster care. But the Corporation is one of literally dozens of agencies that are driving mentoring programs. A 2003 White House report found that there are literally scores of Federal programs supporting mentoring across the country. And the report found that while everyone is supporting this valuable cause, it is not sufficiently coordinated.

Which is why one of the things we are so pleased to be announcing today is a Federal Mentoring Council that will help increase coordination and better leverage the resources across all of the mentoring programs that are happening across the government. Of course that will include HUD, it will include the Department of Education, the Department of Labor, Justice, Health and Human Services, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Interior, and many others are going to come together. And we’ve just brought on a strong leader to take the helm of this Council: Theresa Clower, please stand up; she recently directed the Mentoring Council of Delaware.

The first thing that the Federal Mentoring Council recognizes is that we don’t have all the answers. It has to be a public-private partnership. So we’re also pleased today to announce the creation of a second group—the National Mentoring Working Group—that the Corporation is working together with MENTOR to assemble a private set of practitioners and researchers from the field of mentoring, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, America’s Promise, Communities in Schools, and many other organizations that can then provide ideas and info to the Federal Mentoring Council so that together we can have a public-private discussion about how to accomplish the agenda for closing the gap.

And together we’re going to focus on the audiences that Gail [Manza] and Bob [Grimm] spoke of. We’re going to make sure that more people of faith are brought in to mentoring; that we engage more college students; that we focus on people in the workplace—baby boomers—and that we’re focused on transitioning current volunteers into the mentoring environment.

I think we can do it. I think we have the partners, the resources, the focus, and everyone recognizes the need. We have a game plan, so it’s time for us to get it in high gear.

###

gray line
       
  HOME