The morning kicked off with remarks by David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. MENTOR, an organization celebrating 25 years, provides technical assistance and training to mentoring organizations and advocates for mentoring across the country. David began by talking a little about Our Kids by Robert Putnam. In this new book, Putnam says that efforts to address the opportunity gap must also address the mentoring gap. David commended LSS for their commitment to closing the gap by growing the program to more than 1,000 mentors in partnership with over 65 different schools in its 14 year history. From the national perspective, he said that is “rarified air.”
David thanked the school staff who make mentoring happen by saying they understand that, “we must balance content with relationship in order for our young people to thrive and strive.” He went on to outline the commitment of MENTOR and pointed out a new “mile marker” in the mentoring movement, a research study entitled The Mentoring Effect that found one in three young people are reaching adulthood without the support of a mentor.
David concluded his remarks by saying, “At our best, we exemplify the best in mentoring relationships, steadfast commitment to one another, understanding of one another, and ultimately a collective elevation of one another, our communities, and our nation. Thanks so much for your role in the mentoring movement and let’s continue to tell our story and grow our ranks and help our young people continue to write their stories, stories worthy of their great potential when they know their journey is filled with folks walking beside them.”
The morning continued with the presentation of the Community Partner Award to Sanford Health, the Rookie Mentor Award to Mike Mortland and the Outstanding Mentor Award to Jeremy Anderson.
LSS President and CEO Betty Oldenkamp thanked school officials who have helped with mentoring who will not be returning to the district next year, including Superintendent Dr. Pam Homan.
Mentors were invited to share what mentoring means to them, talk with other mentors and left with a challenge to recruit just one volunteer to help reduce the waiting list of 300 Sioux Falls area students who want or need a mentor.LSS is thrilled the event went so well and is thankful for the event sponsors: First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard, Citi, Sanford Health and Wells Fargo.