A Project of the Michigan Community Service Commission
Mentor Michigan originally began as a pilot program in 1999, started by then-Attorney General Jennifer Granholm to help kids stay out of the juvenile justice system and reach their full potential. With the support of former Detroit Piston Isiah Thomas, and the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan, the initiative impacted over 4,000 youth in its first few years.
In 2003, Mentor Michigan became a signature program of the Michigan Community Service Commission, the state’s lead agency on volunteerism. First Gentleman Dan Mulhern spearheaded the Mentor Michigan program, together with then-Program Director Paula Kaiser VanDam.
In its current capacity, Mentor Michigan is a network of mentoring and youth development programs. By serving as a convener, Mentor Michigan connects mentoring programs with other supports and resources that youth need to be successful. By collaborating the efforts of businesses, faith-based and nonprofit organizations, schools, colleges, universities, and state and local government, Mentor Michigan is able to strengthen and further cultivate the mentoring field.
In addition, Mentor Michigan works to ensure that every young person has a safe and beneficial mentoring experience by developing and promoting the use of Quality Program Standards for Youth Mentoring. Mentor Michigan also strives to build public awareness about the need for mentors by urging caring adults to “Pass It On.”
Beginning in 2015, Mentor Michigan is part of a targeted cradle to career initiative to improve youth development by helping secure mentors for young men of color through My Brother’s Keeper-Michigan.
Within the state, Mentor Michigan has partnered with various programs, such as Volunteer Centers of Michigan and Michigan Campus Compact, to strengthen local mentoring programs and recruit volunteers.
Mentor Michigan is affiliated with the national partnership, MENTOR, which has worked since 1990 to build the infrastructure for youth mentoring to national scale.