January 26, 2023

Duckworth, Durbin, Booker, Schakowsky, García, Trahan Introduce Mentoring to Succeed Act


[WASHINGTON D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), along with U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL-4) and Lori Trahan (D-MA-3), introduced the bicameral Mentoring to Succeed Act in recognition of January as National Mentoring Month.  This legislation provides a strong, sustainable support system through mentorship to ensure that children who experience barriers like poverty, inadequate schooling, disability, adverse childhood experiences, or drug or alcohol abuse, can successfully transition to high school, college and the workforce.  The Mentoring to Succeed Act would strengthen investments in school-based mentorship programs to help youth facing risk develop the academic, social and workforce skills that lead to success. 

“Too many young people, particularly young people of color, don't have access to the academic or economic opportunities that everyone deserves,” Duckworth said. “At the same time, too many struggle with violence in their communities and other obstacles that stifle their dreams and their ambitions. Our nation’s children deserve a chance to reach their full potential and school-based mentoring programs have been proven to help students do just that. I’m proud to join my colleagues in re-introducing this legislation to help ensure every child gets the attention, guidance and resources they need to succeed in school, in the workforce and in life.”

“In Chicago neighborhoods and across the country, young kids, especially children of color, are faced with obstacles like community violence and underfunded schools that will have a dramatic impact on their ability to finish their education and transition to the workforce.  But with the guidance of a mentor, students could lean on a trusted adult to help them navigate the difficulties they face,” said Durbin. “I’m voicing my support for mentorship programs by introducing the Mentoring to Succeed Act to ensure that our most vulnerable children have the opportunity to succeed and achieve their full potential.”

“Our country's greatest resource is our children and we should be doing everything in our power to promote their well-being and future success,” said Booker. “This legislation invests in and expands access to high quality, trauma-informed mentorship programs that will provide our young people, especially those who are at-risk, with the support they need to succeed in school, attend college and pursue their career aspirations.”

“In celebration of National Mentoring Month, I am proud to reintroduce the Mentoring to Succeed Act in the House of Representatives,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. “As our nation’s students continue to face the trauma of the pandemic, gun violence and climate change, they deserve access to a support system. The Mentoring to Succeed Act will give students that support system – through a mentor – helping them get the resources and support they need to thrive in school, the workforce and beyond.”

“School-based mentoring programs help young people in Chicago and across the country develop social-emotional skills, deepen community ties and obtain the skills they need to thrive,” said García. “We're reintroducing the Mentoring to Succeed Act this Congress because it is crucial our government invests in programs proven to help our young people succeed.”

“It’s clearer than ever that we have lots of work ahead to prevent the most vulnerable from falling further behind academically and socially.  School-based mentoring programs have a proven track record of keeping students on track and succeeding,” said Trahan. “We’ve seen that firsthand through the tremendous benefits offered by mentoring programs at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Lowell and LUK, Inc. in Fitchburg.  It’s time to pass the Mentoring to Succeed Act so we make the necessary investments to expand that access to students across the Commonwealth and the country.”

“One in 3 young people grow up without a mentor – a number which has grown in recent years – constituting the ‘mentoring gap.’  After years of disconnection from the COVID-19 pandemic, we can’t leave this critical support up to chance.  We deeply appreciate the efforts of Senators Duckworth, Durbin and Booker and Representatives Schakowsky, García and Trahan for introducing this meaningful legislation to address the mentoring gap head-on, with a focus on violence intervention and trauma-informed practices for youth facing risk.  We look forward to continuing to partner on this work until all youth have the relational supports that they deserve,” said Tim Wills, Chief Impact Officer of MENTOR.

A new study by MENTOR found that 70 percent of today’s young people could remember a time when they wanted a mentor for support but did not have one.  As a result, these youth missed out on the powerful effects of mentoring that have been shown to make a student more likely to enroll in college, participate regularly in sports and extracurricular activities, volunteer in their communities and hold leadership positions.  Researchers at the University of Chicago also found that a school-based mentoring program, Becoming a Man, reduced arrests for violent crime, improved school engagement and increased high school graduation rates.

The Mentoring to Succeed Act of 2023 would:

  • Invest in Mentoring Programs.  Establish a five-year, competitive grant program that provides federal funding to establish, expand, or support school-based mentoring programs.
  • Help Students Overcome Adversity and Trauma.  Provide grant recipients with funding to train mentors in trauma-informed practices and interventions to increase student resilience and reduce juvenile justice involvement.
  • Strengthen Workforce Readiness.  Support partnerships with local businesses and private companies to help youth facing risk with hands-on career training and career exploration.
  • Close the Opportunity Gap.  Give preference to applicants that develop a plan to help prepare youth facing risk for college and the workforce.
  • Support Capacity Building.  Support partnerships with nonprofit, community-based and faith-based organizations to increase the number of youth facing risk served.
  • Enhance Student Success.  Provide grant recipients with funding for program evaluation and identification of successful strategies.

The Mentoring to Succeed Act is endorsed by America’s Promise Alliance; American Youth Policy Forum; Association of University Centers on Disability; Big Brothers Big Sisters of America; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska; Big Brothers Big Sisters Bay Area; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Carolinas; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa; Big Brothers Big Sisters Colorado; Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson & Union Counties (Newark, NJ); Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Florida Keys; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles; Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Boston; Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters; Big Brothers Big Sisters Metro Atlanta; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami; Big Brothers Big Sisters Mountain Region; Big Brothers Big Sisters of the National Capital Area; Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound; Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County; Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle; Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina; Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Y in Central Maryland; Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago; Boys & Girls Clubs of Dundee Township; Union League Boys & Girls Clubs; Children’s Home & Aid Society of Illinois; CoGenerate; College Mentors for Kids, Inc.; Friends of the Children; Girls Inc. of Chicago; Instituto Del Program Latino; Jobs for the Future; MENTOR National; Metropolitan Family Services; National Alliance of Faith and Justice; National CARES Mentoring Movement; National Organization of Concerned Black Men, Inc.; National Recreation and Parks Association; Partners for Youth with Disabilities; Sisters Circle; The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago; U.S. Dream Academy; Year Up; and Youth Guidance.