January is the first month of the year but it’s also National Mentoring Month – a fact that may be less well known.

Still, in honor of that designation, the City of Greensboro and the United Way of Greater Greensboro are introducing a new mentoring program aimed at area men and boys called “100 Males Mentoring”.  

Greensboro is partnering with United Way’s “Mentoring Matters” initiative to hike the number of mentors in the area – and, by doing so, improve the lives of local young men who are most affected by violent crime.

On Thursday, Jan 16, a breakfast will be held from 7:30 a.m.to 9 a.m.at The Terrace at Greensboro Coliseum Complex to kick off the program. Several agencies will be on hand at the event to showcase available mentoring opportunities.

Michelle Gethers-Clark, the president and CEO of United Way of Greater Greensboro, said this will be a very important initiative for the lives of young men.

“Each of us has the power to truly impact the future for our youth by simply being a caring adult in their life as a friend and mentor,” she said in the Tuesday, Jan. 7 press release announcing the event.

Greensboro City Manager David Parrish said, “If we mentor our younger generation and simply be present and have influence, it could make a difference. If this works, it could change a life, change a generation, and possibly change our community.”

According to the information sent out by the city and the United Way, research shows that mentors can play a major role in “providing youngsters with the tools to make responsible choices, attend and excel in school, and reduce or avoid risky behavior, such as gang activity or drug use.”

According to recent statistics, young people who are mentored are 55 percent more likely to end up enrolled in college and 81 percent more likely to participate regularly in sports or extracurricular activities.