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Five Leaders in the Youth Mentoring Movement Receive Excellence in Mentoring Awards from MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership

Dave Bing, Charles R. Burke, Jr., Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Bill Snyder, and Michael B. Yanney to be acknowledged

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| Source: MENTOR

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On January 28, 2015, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) will convene leaders in expanding quality youth mentoring at the Library of Congress to kick off the fifth-annual National Mentoring Summit. During this special reception, MENTOR will honor champions of mentoring with the annual presentation of the national Excellence in Mentoring Awards. These awards honor individuals who have demonstrated a longstanding commitment to meeting the mentoring needs of young people at the national, state, or local level. Nominations were solicited from MENTOR's national network of affiliate Mentoring Partnerships and national mentoring and youth-serving organizations.

"This is a special year for MENTOR as we celebrate 25 years of building a mentoring movement in partnership with so many extraordinary leaders across sectors and the nation who use their platforms to create more mentoring opportunities for young people," said David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR. "This year's group demonstrates why the movement has made so much progress in closing the mentoring gap, as well as the type of steadfast dedication and visionary creativity it will take to provide a mentor for the one in three youth who are still growing up without the benefit of a caring adult."

The Honorees

Former Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has dedicated countless hours to leveraging resources to support youth and the mentoring movement. Bing credits the "old-fashioned values" he learned growing up with his parents and the presence and positive affirmations from his high school basketball coach and mentor as the catalyst that propelled him to success. Enjoying a 16-year career in collegiate and professional basketball, Bing developed his strong belief in teamwork and responsibility, something he wanted to pay forward in life. In fall of 2014, a year after stepping down as mayor of Detroit after one term, he created BINGO, Boys Inspired Through Nurturing, Growth and Opportunities, a mentoring program to support boys and young men of color.

Recently, former Mayor Bing powerfully called others to follow his action. "We give all this lip service to the problems and what we need to do for our boys, but when it comes time to help out and get engaged, it's 'Well, I'm too busy.' And you wonder why they're doing the things that they're doing. Somebody helped us get where we are in life, and it's time for us to give back. I don't care how busy you are. I don't care how successful you are, how much money you've got, you've got to give time now."

Charles R. Burke, Jr. (Chip) of The Grable Foundation reached out to MENTOR over 20 years ago to learn more about the critical importance of quality mentoring relationships and the steps he could take to provide support. He is responsible for founding MENTOR's local affiliate, The Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern PA, in 1995; a non-profit dedicated to maximizing the opportunity for mentoring to transform the lives of young people, and continues to provide guidance and leadership. He is recognized as an ally to youth-serving programs in the Pittsburgh region--supporting early childhood initiatives; working with school systems to bring resources for teachers and students, supporting out-of-school time programs and community development efforts to help create safe neighborhoods and play spaces. And, in every way, he ensures quality relationships are in the forefront of civic discussions.

"[My goal is that] every child is safe, cared for and provided opportunities to learn and create; kids' voices are heard; resources are made available to all kids and each of us gives back however possible," said Burke, Jr.

Senator Mary L. Landrieu has dedicated her life to serving Louisiana and helping build a prosperous future that Louisiana families, schools, and small businesses can count on. After serving eight years in the Louisiana State Legislature and two terms as Louisiana's Treasurer, Senator Landrieu became the first woman elected from Louisiana to a full term in the U.S. Senate. Throughout her 18 years as a Senator, Sen. Landrieu advocated for Louisiana's children, veterans, senior citizens, middle class families, and young professionals, as well as Louisiana's energy, healthcare, agriculture and booming information technology industries.

"Our children deserve the presence of a caring adult who will foster their education needs and ensure they grow into the leaders of tomorrow; MENTOR and the four mentoring leaders honored this year have answered this call and impact children across the country in a positive manner, inspiring them to achieve their biggest dreams," said Senator Landrieu.

Coach Bill Snyder became head football coach at Kansas State University in 1989 and retired briefly in the 2005 season, returning in 2009. During his retirement, he spent three years establishing Kansas Mentors, MENTOR's local affiliate dedicated to connecting existing mentoring programs with one another and serving as a resource center for communities wishing to start a program. Through his dedicated support, Coach Snyder has helped to increase funds in the mentoring sector, raise awareness about the importance of mentoring and elevate the cause. And in 2008, Coach Snyder, along with Coach Tom Osborne of the University of Nebraska (and current MENTOR board member), developed the Coaches' Mentoring Challenge, a recruitment campaign which has recruited tens of thousands of adults to mentor and this year, has first-time participation from the entire Big 12 Conference. Coach Snyder has been described as "a visionary, a man of character, an inspiration, and full of passion".

"If you are involved with coaching, you are involved with mentoring. And that mentoring happens both on and off the football field," said Snyder. "I still have mentors. Probably the most significant thing that anyone can do in our lives is surround ourselves with people who care, and people who want to make our lives better. And young people don't always know how to reach out and find those people. That is why the role of a mentoring program is so important."

Michael B. Yanney, a Nebraska native and the founder of Burlington Capital Group, LLC, has managed public investment funds with assets in the billions. He has used this success to live out his passion—inspiring youth. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Yanney determined mentoring was the best way for business leaders to become invested in the future of Omaha youth. He and Mary and Dick Holland (local benefactors) teamed with the United Way of the Midlands and MENTOR to create local MENTOR affiliate Midlands Mentoring Partnership (MMP). In collaboration with MMP and local programs, Yanney's support has strengthened the mentoring movement statewide by providing training and technical assistance to local programs, creating a community-wide comprehensive data collection effort to determine audiences served and impact of mentoring activities, and offer resources to local programs to serve at-risk youth and work to deliver service throughout their development.

"Success is not what you collect; it's in what you give," said Yanney. "Through my support of mentoring, I hope to inspire others to make an impact in their local community and know it can make a huge difference in the lives of youth. We should all pay it forward."

The National Mentoring Summit, convened by MENTOR, is the only national forum that brings together practitioners, researchers, corporate partners, government and civic leaders, national youth-serving organizations and the network of affiliate Mentoring Partnerships to explore and advance mentoring's positive impact on individuals and communities. In 2015, MENTOR will celebrate a quarter of a century of intentional focus on building a movement to connect all young people with caring adults through safe and effective mentoring relationships.

About MENTOR

MENTOR is the unifying champion for quality youth mentoring in the United States. MENTOR's mission is to close the "mentoring gap" and ensure our nation's young people have the support they need through quality mentoring relationships to succeed at home, school, and ultimately, work. To achieve this, MENTOR collaborates with its network of affiliate Mentoring Partnerships and works to drive the investment of time and money into high impact mentoring programs and advance quality mentoring through the development and delivery of standards, cutting-edge research and state-of-the-art tools. Connect with MENTOR on Twitter and Facebook.

Jennifer Merrill
Development & Communications Manager
617-303-4612