Red Oak Behavioral Health Celebrates National Mentoring Month

CONTACT: Stacey S. Giammarco, Director of Development
(330) 996-4600


iC.A.R.E. MENTORING® Looking to Attract New Mentors for Tallmadge and Norton City Schools

Akron, OH (January 25, 2021) – January is National Mentoring Month, and this year iC.A.R.E. Mentoring®, a program of Red Oak Behavioral Health, is celebrating the annual campaign aimed at expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect more of our community’s young people with caring adults by enlisting new mentors for the programs beginning in Tallmadge and Norton City Schools.

iC.A.R.E. Mentoring® is a school-based mentoring program/platform that supports students through positive, purposeful mentoring relationships with community volunteers. The mission of iC.A.R.E Mentoring is to impact mentors and mentees to foster relationships that cultivate mutual development and empowerment of youth. The vision is to enhance the quality of life for mentored students by reducing achievement gaps so that every child has equal opportunity for success in the classroom and in life.

“We all had individuals that have played a significant role in our lives,” said Jonathan Greer, director of mentoring and prevention at Red Oak, as well as founder of iC.A.R.E. Mentoring®. “Because of their influence and their impact, we are on the paths that we are today, following the career paths we are currently in, pursuing the goals they helped to instill in us, becoming the individuals we were told that we could be,” Greer added. “Whether that person was a family member, teacher, coach, counselor, neighbor, a clergy person, or a big brother from a mentoring program, that person is and has been a guiding light in our lives.”

National Mentoring month is an opportunity to bring notoriety to a movement that is so needed in our communities. It is a chance to display a need and an opportunity to reflect on past heroes of our childhood and adolescent years and motivate youth to become heroes in their own lives. “One apple seed can produce an apple tree filled with fruit bearing seed, so in the same way one invested hour of engaging time can produce an avenue of possibilities, filled with a world of exponential opportunities that tangibly impact a student’s future,” Greer added.

Research shows that mentors play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to make responsible choices, attend and engage in school, and reduce or avoid risky behavior like drug use. In turn, these young people are:

  • 55% more likely to be enrolled in college
  • 81% more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities.
  • 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities.
  • More than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team.

Yet, the same research shows that one in three young people in our country will grow up without a mentor.

National Mentoring Month is the time of year where engagement from community members interested in becoming a mentor is highest.

This year, with the support of the mentoring community, we are encouraging the public to go beyond just digital engagement – and become involved in real life. Mentoring relationships are at their best when connections are made between a caring adult and a young person who knows that someone is there to help guide them through those real life decisions.

Mike Wexler, an iC.A.R.E. Mentoring® program mentor, is a semi-retired gentleman that moved back to the Greater Akron area in 2018.

His daughter encouraged him to get involved. “Mentoring has taught me how to relate to another individual outside of my personal and professional life, where we have little in common, but can still find common ground,” said Wexler. “I’ve had many highlights during my time mentoring, but one that sticks out to me was my mentee asking if we could meet more often than what was originally planned. My mentee also asked if I could attend some of his sporting events,” Wexler added. “What a way to connect with the community and give back in some way.”

National Mentoring Month is led by Jonathan Greer, Director of Prevention and Mentoring and also Founder of the iC.A.R.E. Mentoring® program. Each year since its launch in 2002, National Mentoring Month has enjoyed the strong support of the President and the United States Congress. Other prominent individuals who have participated in the campaign include: Maya Angelou, former President Bill Clinton, Clint Eastwood, Quincy Jones, Cal Ripken Jr., Bill Russell and Usher.

To learn more about the role mentoring plays in our community and to find volunteer opportunities visit, or call 330-996-4600.


Red Oak Behavioral Health
Red Oak Behavioral Health is an accredited non-profit organization that has served the greater Akron community since 1963. Its mission is to change lives by partnering with the community and those in need of behavioral health services.

Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a non-profit organization created to enrich lives and our communities by inspiring use, appreciation and support of Cuyahoga Valley National Park and ensure its preservation. The Conservancy is supported by our corporate sponsors Cascade Auto Group, The J.M. Smucker Company, and patrons like you.