January is National Mentoring Month. I’m so thankful for those who mentored me… first it was the nuns – particularly Sister Mary of Charity, GNSH at the Immaculate (she was from Lowell – a Welch, I think) who saw my potential as a would-be teacher… then it was women professors at Lowell State – but especially Dean of Students Mary McGauvran … at Lowell High School it was a group thing – Frank McHugh, Tom Murphy, Claire Quigley, Peggy Royal, and so many others – many of them peers. I count the late Catherine Goodwin, Peter Stamas and especially my dear friend Mary Bacigalupo as so important in channeling my interest in community and cultural activism. In politics – it was Helen Droney, my uncle Bob Deignan and a host of politicos who let me work with them and learn. In my family my great aunts Beatrice and Vera Deignan encouraged my community service and always sent such wonderful notes and my mother who through her own activities and support of mine made so much possible. In turn – I try to be encouraging to others across a spectrum of issues and civic activity. Be a mentor! It’s important and rewarding for you and those you mentor.
Here are some suggestions of things to do this January to celebrate “mentoring”: Become a mentor in your community; think about the mentors in your life and post a tribute to them online; partner with a mentoring organization; make a donation to a local mentoring organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Best Buddies Massachusetts, Reading is Fundamental… Opportunities for mentoring are available in many places in the community, the schools, the faith-based community and through business.
Learn more about mentoring and National Mentoring Month founded in 2002 and supported by former President Bill Clinton, General Colin Powell and Bill Russell – here at the website: http://www.nationalmentoringmonth.org/ and here: http://www.nationalservice.gov/.