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January is National Mentoring Month, a time when youth mentorship is promoted and celebrated. Older mentors can be an important source of guidance and inspiration in the lives of young people, particularly those who are at risk of not receiving much support at home. Whether it is by offering academic help, a safe place to talk or an example of a life to aspire towards, mentors are an incredibly valuable resource for many young people.

Our partner organization America on Track understands the important role mentoring can have in transforming young lives. This amazing California based nonprofit provides mentorship for one of the most at-risk groups of youth in America, the children of prisoners. 65.2% of children with incarcerated parents are convicted of a crime by the age of 25. America on Track helps these children, many of whom are in low-income homes without their birth parents, to avoid the same path as their parents and instead to reach their potential as productive adults. Through programs focused on mentoring, leadership, fitness and nutrition, drug use prevention and academic achievement, America on Track instills new hope in children of incarcerated parents. Since 1995, more than 2,000 successful mentor and mentee matches have been made between children and successful adult role models, and that number continues to grow.

The Maximus Foundation partnered with America on Track to help fund its “College Is For Me Too” program. An overnight camp at California State University, Fullerton features academic enrichment with a focus on STEM fields, as well as campus tours, fitness and guest speakers. Additionally, students get to experience what university life is like and to gain a better sense of joy that can come with academics. Together the Maximus Foundation and America On Track have shown children of incarcerated parents that education can mean a better future. By providing students positive role models and mentors, the Maximus Foundation and America on Track are breaking the cycle of incarceration for these young people.

Learn more about America on Track