For Immediate Release
Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
January 23, 2008
White House Compassion in Action Roundtable Highlights Mentoring Successes Throughout the Nation
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI) today convened a Compassion in Action policy roundtable, highlighting the efforts of America's mentors to support our nation's struggling and at-risk citizens. Hosted by OFBCI Director Jay Hein and keynoted by America's Promise Alliance Chief Executive Officer Marguerite Kondracke and Amachi mentoring program founder Wilson Goode, the roundtable assembled faith-based and community leaders, government officials, policymakers, foundation representatives, business leaders and philanthropists to tout innovative mentoring partnerships and explore ways to expand effective public-private collaborations in communities throughout the country.
In recognition of National Mentoring Month, today's event honors President Bush's call for all Americans to recognize the importance of mentoring and look for opportunities to serve as mentors in their communities. More than 3 million Americans have answered the call to be a mentor. Yet, some 14 million at-risk youth are still in need of a caring individual to help teach them skills they need to succeed in life.
"President and Mrs. Bush believe every child in America deserves a compassionate adult in their lives. When a mom and dad are unable to play that role, at-risk children need mentors to stand in as role models," Jay Hein said. "Today's event celebrates our progress and re-affirms our commitment to closing this mentoring gap."
The roundtable discussion focused on ways mentoring programs through Presidential initiatives are helping organizations and individuals transform lives through the aid of government resources. For example, the President's Helping America's Youth initiative, launched in his 2005 State of the Union address and spearheaded by Mrs. Laura Bush, is a joint venture through several federal agencies to help connect individuals with mentoring opportunities and educational resources on youth issues. Additionally, programs like Mentoring Children of Prisoners at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services connect grassroots nonprofit organizations with government resources, which has helped match over 70,000 at-risk youth with committed mentors.
President Bush believes the most effective way to address community need is to draw upon the unique strengths of every willing community and faith-based partner. He launched the Faith-Based and Community Initiative upon taking office in January 2001 to strengthen America's nonprofit sector. During the past seven years, the Initiative has launched a range of policy reforms and innovative programs that make community-based and faith-based organizations a central part of solving problems, from aiding prisoner reentry efforts and fighting homelessness to addressing AIDS in Africa. Since April 2006, the OFBCI has convened monthly Compassion in Action policy roundtables to discuss issues of interest faith- and community-based organizations and highlight honor the successes of dedicated Americans helping their neighbors in need.
A fact sheet on OFBCI mentoring programs is available at: /government/fbci/pdf/Mentoring_Fact_Sheet_Final.pdf.
For more information on the OFBCI and the President's compassion agenda, visit: /government/fbci/.