Has anyone ever encouraged you to push a little harder, go a little further, and inspire you to be your very best? If you answered yes, then consider yourself amongst the lucky – you had a mentor!

Created in 2002 by the Harvard School of Public Health and MENTOR, January is National Mentoring Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of mentors in young people’s lives. National Mentoring Month has been celebrated since 2002, but youth mentoring in America actually dates back to the early 20th century, when New York City-based Ernest Coulter created a program that paired caring and adult volunteers with under-served youth. That program, called Big Brothers Big Sisters, has since spread to all 50 states and has changed the lives of thousands of young people.

This January, celebrate National Mentoring Month by making a difference a young person’s life. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • imentor: Join imentor’s network of more than 2,000 mentors working with under-served youth all across New York City.
  • girls inc.: Help inspire young girls to be “strong, smart, and bold” at once of girls inc’s 1,400 sites across the U.S. and Canada.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters: Be a mentor, make a difference and build lifelong friendships with one of the country’s best known mentoring programs.
  • Mentoring USA: Participate in MUSA’s site based, one-to-one mentoring model.
  • dosomething.org: Think your school could benefit from a peer-mentoring program? Here’s how to start one.

The Jewish tradition of hevruta is based on the importance of learning with and from others. This month, become somebody’s hevruta – become a mentor!