2019 marks Grand Area Mentoring’s fourteenth year as Moab’s school and community-based mentoring program, and is approaching the new year with a mentor training during National Mentoring Month.

The project began in 2005 with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, which strove to boost student performance in high-risk regions. In its first year, the program served 25 students. In the 2017/18 school year, it served 91. Throughout its history, the program has consistently outperformed objectives set by the federal agency.

National Mentoring Month takes place each January. Government officials, celebrities, major corporations and mentoring programs everywhere use this occasion to celebrate the power of mentoring and address America’s dearth of volunteer mentors.

Grand Area Mentoring now has 10 youth on its waiting list, and it will offer a new mentor orientation on Jan. 16.

“It’s a no-obligation training,” said Grand Area Mentoring Director Daniel McNeil. “We invite anyone to register who’s interested in learning more. We’ll explain everything about the program so you can make an informed decision about whether it’s a good fit.”

In the spirit of the season, he added, “This is when people make resolutions. 2019 could be a perfect time to rise by lifting others.”


Grand Area Mentoring’s June report tells a story of hope and community engagement.

Seventy percent of mentored students improved their grades. One hundred percent of parents agree that their son or daughter makes better decisions since being matched with a mentor. And 94 percent of teachers agree that mentored youth have a better shot at graduation.

The average mentor-mentee pairing in America lasts only six months, but Grand Area Mentoring’s average is over two years.

“The numbers are great,” McNeil said. “But I think what the students say better captures the success of Moab’s kind mentors and promising youth.”

According to a 2018 survey, one sixth-grade student said: “I was bullied when I was younger, so I didn’t trust anyone. In mentoring, I learned how to trust people again.”

It’s not just the students who see the difference. In a survey, a parent wrote of mentoring: “The best decision I’ve ever made for my daughter.”

And a teacher observed: “The value of the mentoring relationship is beyond measure, because we are dealing with a child’s view of themselves and how they fit into life. The transformation is a beautiful process to watch — a true life-changing experience.”

As this school year’s midpoint approaches, the program is reaching out to the community to spotlight all the good Moab’s mentors are achieving.

Grand Area Mentoring’s volunteer coordinator Megan McGee said, “We want to thank all the mentors of Moab. They are truly amazing people. And we want to wish everyone happy 2019 and happy National Mentoring Month.”

To learn more about Grand Area Mentoring and the training program, call Dan McNeil at 435-260-9646 or send an email message to grandareamentoring@gmail.com.

January is National Mentoring Month