This year, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) has expanded the challenge beyond university football coaches and is asking for programs and partners to nominate coaches from all community levels to participate in the campaign. If your mentoring program works with local coaches and you would like them to get national recognition as part of our campaign, please complete our nomination form!
August 1 marked the kickoff of the Coaches’ Mentoring Challenge, an annual campaign to connect more young people with caring mentors by leveraging the support of coaches around the nation. In their role as natural mentors, coaches know firsthand the benefits of providing positive encouragement and guidance to young people. During this effort, coaches from all sports representing universities, high schools, and communities encourage fans to “join the team, and be a mentor in real life” to support the next generation of students.
The Coaches’ Mentoring Challenge began in 2008 when Coach Tom Osborne at the University of Nebraska and Coach Bill Snyder at Kansas State University engaged in a friendly competition to recruit more quality mentors. Over the past eight years, the Challenge has seen participation from universities in the Big Ten and the Big 12 conferences, and in the past two years nearly 20,000 fans stepped up to volunteer as mentors.
Coaches involved are challenging fans to volunteer to mentor youth in their communities. Many of the coaches are also teaming up with MENTOR’s affiliate Mentoring Partnerships and other nonprofit partners. Research has found that mentoring is linked to improved academic, social and economic prospects. At-risk young adults surveyed who had a mentor while they were growing up were 55% more likely to be enrolled in college than those who did not have a mentor.* Additionally, 9 million young people will grow up without having a mentor of any kind to offer real life guidance.
The Coaches’ Mentoring Challenge, part of the In Real Life movement, runs through November 30, with final results released during the first week in December. Fans interested in becoming a mentor can visit www.CoachesMentoringChallenge.org and search for a mentoring program in their community.