BUTTE – Attorney General Steve Bullock joined Sheriff John Walsh, Ann Courtney of Big Brothers Big Sisters, Michelle Brennick of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, and Korina Scheerer of the YMCA, in Butte Thursday to announce the creation of two new awards. The Montana Mentor of the Year and Afterschool Provider of the Year awards will recognize outstanding individuals who have made a positive difference in the lives of children.
“In communities throughout Montana, every week mentors are building relationships with kids who need someone else in their lives. They find the time to take a child out for ice cream, to read a story or to throw a baseball around at the park,” Bullock said. “In terms of community safety, that pays dividends to all of us.”
Statistics from Big Brothers Big Sisters show that youth who are involved in positive, supportive relationships and activities are less likely to be involved in crime, to skip school, and to use drugs and alcohol.
“We are very excited that the Attorney General’s Office is creating a ‘Mentor of the Year Award’ because mentors are the lifeblood of our organization and the work they do not only impacts the children, but their families in our individual communities,” said Ann Courtney, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Butte.
In announcing the new Afterschool Provider of the Year award, Bullock noted that, in Montana in 2008, nearly 20 percent of all juvenile crimes occurred between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
“As the father of three young children, I recognize how important afterschool programs are to working families throughout the state. And as attorney general, I know how valuable they are in keeping kids safe and out of trouble,” Bullock added.
The announcement was made in conjunction with national “Thank Your Mentor Day,” which is celebrated on January 21 as part of the month-long designation of January as National Mentoring Month.
The Department of Justice will accept nominations for the two awards until February 24 and announce the 2010 winners in March. Nominees will be evaluated based on their specific efforts related to mentoring or afterschool programs, their length of service, and the impact they have had on the lives of others.
The nomination form for the awards is available on the Department of Justice website. For more information about the awards, contact Department of Justice representative Kevin Downs at (406) 444-9869 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.