No special skills are needed, just your kindness, dedication, and support, and your willingness to spend time with someone who needs you.
Young people in our society need positive, successful adult role models. They need guidance in setting and achieving goals and positive reinforcement from someone they trust and admire.
With a small investment of time each week, you can make a BIG difference in the life of a child.
Andy Mecca talks about his role in the development of the mentoring initiative in California for an event in June 2015 at which he was honored in recognition of 40 years of work in the Marin County Schools. Andy is president of the California Mentor Foundation and co-founder of the Lifeplan Institute.
The Lifeplan Institute — the groundbreaking program founded in 2008 by he California Mentor Foundation — was invited to Selma, Alabama, to train Freedom Foundation volunteers to be able to facilitate the Lifeplan program. We led the training for almost 30 volunteers on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014.
Today, two million children woke up in California without a caring person there to say, “I hold aspirations for you, I care about you, I love you.” This daily tragedy of isolation for many children can be greatly alleviated through mentoring.
Our goal is to grow the capacity of statewide mentor programs, and increase mentor recruitment and retention in California to provide a mentor to every child who needs or wants one.
Founded in 2008 by the California Mentor Foundation, the Lifeplan Institute is national in scope and inspired by a commitment to touch the lives of 10 million teenagers in 10 years by mentoring them in the skills and tools necessary to build a sustainable personal Lifeplan.
A Plan for Life: Why Every Young Person Should Have a Lifeplan
“This book … describes the birth of Lifeplan, how it works, and why it’s crucial that every young person in America have a Lifeplan. By giving young people these tools, we are ensuring that each young person in America has a chance to thrive.”
— Foreword by George Lucas
We support at-risk children who have been neglected and are a part of California’s youth mentoring programs, such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs, CASA, and many local after school mentor programs such as HOSTS.
We have also provided assistance and tools to other states, including Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington and Texas, to help launch their mentoring initiatives. California was first in the nation to develop a statewide mentoring initiative.
“Mentoring comes first, because we know that if society doesn’t provide constructive mentors and role models for kids they are going to find their own on street corners, in gangs or in drug dens.”
– Remarks by General Colin Powell at a California Mentor Summit hosted by the California Mentor Foundation and Disneyland.
Our goal is to grow the capacity of statewide mentor programs, and increase mentor recruitment and retention in California to provide a mentor to every child who needs or wants one. We diligently grow an endowment to support sustainable grant opportunities for mentor programs and coalitions.
Lifeplan Institute is a national outgrowth of the successful California Mentor Foundation, which received some extraordinary support in 2002 from Star Wars creator George Lucas. At the world premiere benefit screening of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, $250,000 was raised for statewide mentoring programs and at-risk youth in California. The foundation and benefit premiere were featured on abc7news.com.
Mentoring has also proven to be economically efficient as the most potent, cost-effective, preventative youth development strategy available today. Our research shows the cost benefit of supporting a child through mentoring far outweighs the benefits of costly social programs. Annual costs to support a youth in social programs:
Bottom line, the federal government spends over $10 billion a year on fighting the four social epidemics, making mentoring a highly leveraged investment, not a cost.