Mentoring Month January 1, 2021 WHEREAS, Alaska’s youth are Alaska’s future, and it is important that we strengthen and challenge their minds through effective mentoring; and WHEREAS, a mentor is a reliable presence who dedicates time to a young person to help them develop personal strength and reach their full potential through a structured and trusting relationship; and WHEREAS, mentors can help build character, encourage goal setting, boost self-confidence, and motivate young people to exceed their own expectations. Mentors often fill many roles – serving as friends, role models, instructors, and dependable sources of stability and care; and WHEREAS, research shows that mentors offer valuable, long-term effects on youth by increasing their academic interests, and decreasing the likelihood of substance abuse and other risky behaviors. Quality mentoring also familiarizes young people with positive influences and new ideas, and helps them transition to adulthood by giving them tools to make healthy choices for their future; and WHEREAS, a positive mentoring relationship can greatly improve the mental and physical health of a young person, and is a rewarding and enriching experience for the mentor as well; and WHEREAS, the COVID-19 Pandemic has deprived children and teens of the socialization aspect of school, and it is as vital as ever for mentors to be reaching out to youth and providing them a positive influence and filling that void. Social Media, video conferencing software, smart phones, and safe Pandemic Procedures make it possible for mentors to continue to provide youth the guidance and support they need and deserve; and WHEREAS, Mentoring Month raises public awareness of the importance of mentoring, recognizes the enthusiastic and dedicated individuals who serve as mentors to our youth, and encourages more Alaskans to make a difference in the life of a child or teen through mentoring. NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim January, 2021 as: Mentoring Month in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to seek opportunities to serve as mentors in their communities, and to celebrate local mentors and organizations that serve our youth as they follow their dreams.