Plans have been announced the ninth annual National Mentoring Month this month. The nationwide drive to recruit volunteer mentors for young people will target Americans around the country with the message, “Expand your universe, mentor a child.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Ottawa County is currently seeking volunteer mentors. The club has received funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Navajo Nation to support a mentoring program.

The Boys & Girls Club began implementing the mentoring program in January, 2005.

The program involves recruiting volunteer mentors who are matched with a youth mentee. Mentors agree to meet with their mentee at the club. Besides offering friendship and a listening ear, mentors and mentees engage in a variety of meaningful activities together and in groups. With the support of grant funds, a mentor program coordinator oversees the initiative.

Youth development experts agree that mentoring is a critical element in any child’s social, emotional and cognitive development. It builds a sense of industry and competency, boosts academic performance and broadens horizons.

Those interested in making a difference in the life of a child or know of a child who is in need of a mentor, contact Kembi Miller at 540-1641 or stop by the club.