Erin Souza-Rezendes, Director of Communications | Jeanie Kahnke, Senior Director of Public Relations and External Affairs at the Muhammad Ali Center
January 17th, 2019
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January 17 Marks the Late Legend’s 77th Birthday

LOUISVILLE — MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and the Muhammad Ali Center are proud to announce the Fourth Annual International Mentoring Day on January 17, 2019—the date which would have been the 77th birthday of boxing legend and global humanitarian Muhammad Ali.

In honor of International Mentoring Day, MENTOR and the Ali Center are teaming up to amplify and celebrate real-life mentoring stories. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to share their own personal mentoring stories on social media using #InternationalMentoringDay, #MentorIRL and #MentoringMonth. MENTOR is also curating these real-life stories in mentors’ and mentees’ own words at

International Mentoring Day is a milestone in National Mentoring Month, celebrated each January to highlight the power of mentoring and recognize the real-life mentoring relationships that form and thrive each day. On January 17, the mentoring field celebrates the worldwide power of mentoring young people to foster global understanding, build momentum, and broaden networks to bring people together.

Research shows that mentors play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to strive and thrive, to attend and engage in school, and to reduce or avoid risky behavior like drug use.  In turn, these young people are:

  • 55% more likely to be enrolled in college
  • 81% more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities
  • 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities.
  • More than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team.

Yet, the same research shows that one in three young people in the United States alone will grow up without a mentor outside their family.  At the same time, research shows that 44% of adults are not yet mentoring but are willing to consider it and mentoring is poised for growth.18- to 29-year-olds are more than twice as likely to cite having had a mentor in their childhood than those over 50. Almost half of today’s young adults report having a mentor in their youth and those rates appear to have been rising steadily over the past several decades.

As Lonnie Ali, widow of Muhammad Ali, has said: “Muhammad has always been a mentor to me, his family, friends, fans, and countless numbers of individuals around the world for many decades. Mentors are special gifts to the world. They encourage, motivate, reinforce, and guide others to reach their own individual greatness. I am proud that such a significant day has been set-aside in honor of Muhammad as a way to carry forth his legacy of giving time and energy to helping others.  I am hopeful that on this day, and for years to come, ordinary people will take the first step to mentor someone who needs support, direction, and more importantly someone to simply believe in them. After all, mentors have the power to transform lives.”

“It is so inspiring and invigorating to see National Mentoring Month’s expanding reach and resonance as we celebrate our common humanity and the importance of walking alongside our young people in pursuit of a thriving global community,” said David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR. “We appreciate all of our partners and people across the world demonstrating the universal impact of building empowering bridges through mentoring relationships.”

About MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership

MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership 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 Affiliates 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. 

About the Muhammad Ali Center

The Muhammad Ali Center, a 501(c)3 corporation, was co-founded by Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The international cultural center promotes the six core principles of Muhammad Ali (Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality) in ways that inspire personal and global greatness and provides programming and events around the focus areas of education, gender equity, and global citizenship. Its newest initiative, Generation Ali, fosters a new generation of leaders to contribute positively to their communities and to change the world for the better. The Center’s headquarters also contains an award-winning museum experience. For more information, please visit


For any press or media inquiries, please contact Erin Souza-Rezendes, Director of Communications, at or 774-644-0176.