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January 28, 2011

Bullock: Time to Nominate Outstanding Mentors and Afterschool Providers

HELENA – Attorney General Steve Bullock on Friday encouraged Montanans to submit nominations for two awards now in their second year. Bullock initiated the Montana Mentor of the Year and Afterschool Provider of the Year awards in 2010 to recognize outstanding individuals who have made a positive difference in the lives of children.

“We know from research into programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters that youth who are involved in supportive relationships and activities are less likely to be involved in crime, to skip school, and to use drugs and alcohol,” Bullock said. “Caring mentors and afterschool providers do a fantastic job of keeping kids focused on positive pursuits and out of trouble.”

Since January is National Mentoring Month, Bullock said it is a good time to start thinking about the contribution these individuals make to kids and communities throughout the state.

The Department of Justice will accept nominations for the two awards until February 28 and announce the 2011 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.

Last year’s winners were:

  • Del Key of Missoula, who provided years of service working as a mentor, tutor and friend to over 25 second through fifth graders at Russell Elementary School.
  • Mentor Cory Sonnemann of Butte, a biochemistry student at Montana Tech, who volunteered as a Big Brother as well as a coach for Little Guy Football, a Montana Mind’s Tutor, a Learning Center Tutor, and other activities.
  • Afterschool care provider Cathy Gaiser of Big Fork, the director and co-founder of LEAP (Leadership, Education, and Athletics in Partnership), an afterschool program that provides enriching activities for youth.

The nomination form for the awards is available on the Department of Justice website. For more information about the awards, contact Department of Justice Deputy Chief of Staff Kevin Downs at (406) 444-9869 or by e-mail at