U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and U.S. Representative André Carson (D-IN-07), along with U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), introduced two bills that would support mentoring opportunities for historically underserved youth.
Students who are mentored are 52% less likely to skip a day of school, 46% less likely to use drugs, and 55% more likely to attend college. Introduced on Tuesday in the Senate and House, the Transition-To-Success Mentoring Act and the Students Helping Young Students Act aim to increase funding and support partnerships for mentoring programs across the country.
"Mentorship has the ability to transform the lives of young people," said Senator Booker. "Mentors play a crucial role in the well-being and success of our children, especially those who are most vulnerable, by ensuring the child has the support they need to succeed in school, attend college, and pursue their career aspirations. I am proud to introduce legislation that would invest in and expand access to high quality mentorship programs that will provide our youth with the support they need to thrive."
"Throughout every stage in my life, mentors helped me become who I am," said Representative Carson. "Having a mentor can be the difference between graduating high school or dropping out, but it's not just about success on paper. Mentoring can also help students learn the positive coping and communication skills, empowering young people with the confidence they need to live happy, full lives. With a trusted adult to confide in, young people's lives can have dramatically different outcomes. It's more important than ever to support mentoring programs across the country and match a mentor with every child who needs one."
"When young people have mentors, it's proven that they're more likely to succeed at every stage in life," said Senator Menendez. "The guidance, support, and relationships built through mentorship programs are simply life-changing. I'm proud to cosponsor these bicameral bills to help ensure all our children in New Jersey and across the nation have access to the type of support systems that will help them lead successful, healthy, and fulfilling lives."
January marks National Mentoring Month, a month to recognize mentors across the country and to promote the need to close the mentoring gap, ensuring every young person in need has access to a strong support system outside of the home.
More information about each bill can be found below.
Transition-To-Success Mentoring Act:
This bill would establish a grant program to support partnerships between local education agencies and community and school-based mentoring programs targeted at helping youth facing risk of dropping out before graduation. A recent survey found that only 39% of young people said an adult was available to talk to them when feeling stressed or having problems. School-based mentoring is an innovative, evidence-based supplement to the traditional learning that takes place in the classroom, providing underserved and most-vulnerable students with attention and support to keep them engaged in school. Strong mentoring services can also help youth address mental health and trauma, decrease absenteeism from school, and connect with employers.
Students Helping Young Students Act:
This bill would incorporate work with after-school programs into the Federal Work-Study Program under community service by making participation in these programs eligible for federal funds. This bill helps incentivize participation in after-school programs with compensation to college students.
Under this legislation, students can be compensated for their work, including time spent in training and travel, directly related to mentoring programs. This will allow any student who wishes to serve in their community to participate in mentorship activities, regardless of their financial background. As a result, the Students Helping Young Students Act will also help close the mentoring gap and expand opportunities for younger students to get the support they need to succeed and reach their goals, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.