In celebration of National Mentoring Month, the Northfield Public Schools Community Services mentoring program, Connected Kids, is participating in the “I Am a Mentor” Day social media campaign on Jan. 11. All week, mentors and mentees are encouraged to visit the Northfield Public Schools Community Services Facebook page, “like” us, and comment on the “I Am a Mentor” post with a story or anecdote about what mentoring means to them and the impact it’s had on their lives.

Connected Kids currently supports 96 active matches and has served nearly 200 youth since its inception 7 years ago. Over that time, over 88 percent of youth have demonstrated improvement in academic performance and over 87 percent have improved attendance.

Mentors, backed by quality mentoring programs, play a powerful role in preventing substance abuse and youth violence, as well as boosting academic achievement and workforce readiness. Studies have shown a more than 250 percent return on a $1 investment in mentoring and myriad quality of life benefits to the mentor, too. Mentors help build young people’s character and confidence, expand their universe and help them navigate pathways to successful adulthood.

On Jan. 3, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation saying, “Every day, mentors help young Americans face the challenges of growing into adulthood. By setting a positive example and sharing their time, knowledge and experience, mentors play an essential role in preparing our nation’s youth for a bright future. During National Mentoring Month, we celebrate the contributions of all those who cultivate a supportive environment for the next generation, and we recommit to expanding mentorship opportunities across our country.”

Despite the positive impact, there are still a number of Northfield youth who are waiting for a mentor. If you would like to know more about Connected Kids, visit us online. For more information and resources on quality youth mentoring, visit the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota online at

Northfield Public Schools Community Services includes recreation and enrichment programming, Early Childhood Family Education, driver education, KidVentures, EarlyVentures Learning Center, Connected Kids, Middle School Youth Center, Hand-in-Hand Preschool, Adult Basic Education and Project ABLE.