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Mentoring Month

from MENTOR, sponsor of National Mentoring Month:

Mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter. Mentoring connects a young person to personal growth and development, and social and economic opportunity.

Would you like to be a mentor? Do you have some of these basic qualities?

  • A sincere desire to be involved with a young person

  • Respect for young people

  • Active listening skills

  • Empathy

  • Ability to see solutions and opportunities


If so, you would likely be a good mentor. It’s a fun way of achieving growth for your community. You will likely feel more productive, have better relationships with your own children and improve your mentee’s self-esteem. A good mentor is willing to take the time to get to know their mentee, to learn new things that are important to the young person, and even to be changed by their relationship.


This quick search in your area can connect mentors with mentees serving different youth populations.

Sunday Supper Month

Gathering for a meal that has been prepared with love is a time-honored family and community ritual. It’s also a way of celebrating together, allowing families to share in the joy and challenges of life. And it helps build good habits and the art of being present and unplugging from the digital world. Sunday Suppers nourish body, mind, and soul alike. Interactions amid shared food and conversation bring loved ones together and help cement strong bonds.

How can it work?

  • Organize a family meal

  • Get everyone to pitch in and prep — and bond while you’re at it!

  • Share an interesting recipe of the food you prepared for supper with others to help them get inspired to celebrate the day with their own circle.

  • Enlarge your Public Kinship supper circle! Invite the families of your childrens' school friends, or some neighbors you always say hello to but have never really talked to.

Recipe Resources


Sides ‘n’ Salads

SNAP-friendly recipes and tips for holiday suppers…and every supper!

Jan. 1 - End of Kwanzaa 

Kwanzaa is a celebration for all, but is primarily dedicated to African American culture and identity. Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966. For Karenga, the creation of such holidays also underscored the necessity of a cultural revolution, with the purpose of giving identity, purpose, and direction. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to a Principle: Unity; Self-Determination; Collective Work and Responsibility; Cooperative Economics; Purpose; Creativity; and Faith. January 1st is the day of Imani. It is a day of Meditation allowing us for remembrance, reflection and recommitment to our highest values.

What to do for yourself

The end of Kwanzaa can be a period of reflection of the seven principles for yourself and those close to you. It’s important to honor and celebrate your successes in these seven domains over the last year. It’s equally important to understand and plan how to tackle the challenges in the year ahead. For example, did you learn a new skill or gain knowledge in something you truly value? What are the skills you would like to learn next year? What are some areas you think you can improve upon? Are you content with who you are and where you see yourself in the foreseeable future?


What to do with others

The end of Kwanzaa is also a period of reflection for your relationships with your friends, neighbors, community and planet as well. For example: What were some of the most fun moments you had in your community this year? How do you think you could best improve the quality of life in your community? Do you have a strength or skill that would enhance the beauty of your environment.

End of Kwanzaa

Jan. 5 - National Day of Dialogue

The first National Day of Dialogue invites all Americans to change our current state of division and polarization by crossing lines of difference and into real dialogue. “As a nation, we have largely lost our ability to have hard conversations without judgment, animus, or fear. The goal of this day is to arrest that trajectory; to change what is becoming our go-to when it comes to hard conversations so people can sit down and talk about real issues in a constructive and productive way.” (Christy Vines)


What to do for yourself

Watch the replay of NDOD 2023

Watch Kalisha’s Story

What to do with others

Take this day to express yourself to one another. It's not always easy to speak your mind out loud, but this day will provide you the courage to understand each other. And also be mindful to listen completely and without bias. Is there an issue you particularly care about and know someone in your community with an opposing view? It's always a good habit to put yourself in another person’s shoes and try to understand their perspective first before you engage them. And when you do, a polite and courteous attitude will always go a long way. One can never fully understand the hardships that another person had in the past or is going through currently which are often the reason for an opposing view. But in time, a commitment to dialogue can solve some of the greatest challenges of our time.

National Day of Dialogue

Jan. 15 - World Religion Day

World Religion Day began in 1950; its origins lie in the Baháʼi principle that religion evolves continuously throughout the history of humanity. The Day highlights the idea that the spiritual principles underlying the world's religions are harmonious, and that religions play a significant role in unifying humanity. Over the years, an increasing number of observances are independently organized by interfaith or multi-faith coalitions. The Parliament of the World's Religionsfor example, operates in this spirit, and offers many learning tools for engaging with different faiths, and therefore with different languages for making Public Kinship part of a sense of self and world.

What to do for yourself

Whether you are religious or not, take a few moments to reflect on how you can bring more peace, justice and sustainability to yourself and those around you. Think of ways you can cultivate harmony. A good starting point is to take a close look at small things you are grateful for.


What to do with others

World Religion Day emphasizes interfaith discourse and how religions unify humanity. Can you think of ways to unify your community? Taking the first step to build harmony and unity might seem daunting, but it quickly gets easier. Ultimately, your community will repay you with abundant peace and love.

World Religion Day

Jan. 16 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Dr. King was many things: a father; a husband; a preacher; the son of a preacher; a humanitarian; a civil rights leader; a diplomat; a scholar; a peacemaker; and much more. It’s very easy these days to learn about what he did, said, and thought. The King Center has a wealth of resources for this.

What to do for yourself

What aspects of this famous man – his values, his beliefs, his actions – do you identify with? Are there causes he fought for that speak to you? What would you like to know more about?

What to do with others

M.L.K. Day is a nationally recognized Day of Service. It’s a Day On, not a Day Off! 

  • Before the pandemic, each year a march was held in Dr. King’s honor in Washington D.C. This year, you can virtually participate in The March; either by participating in a virtual parade hosted in your community, or by registering for one of many nationwide neighborhood "Peace Walks."

  • Take a virtual tour of the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. The museum is hosting an all day hybrid in person and virtual event tour on MLK Day! Explore exhibits at your leisure and attend in-person events scheduled throughout the day.

  • Learn more about Dr. King from the NAACP and by watching his “I Have A Dream” speech.

Jan. 24 - National Compliment Day

What to do for yourself

What could be easier? Nothing says “public kinship” like telling someone what you admire about them and why. Who do you know who could use a compliment today? What kind of compliment would you like to pay them, and why? And how? a card? a phone call? a conversation? Make it happen!

What to do with others

Tell other folks about what today is and what its benefits are. Suggest that you and your “complimentees” have a little get-together and share your experience of this day of kindness!

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
National Compliment Day
Birth of Thomas Merton

Jan. 31 - Birthday of Father Thomas Merton

What to do for yourself

You may not have heard of Father Thomas Merton, the American Catholic theologian and social activist. He was an advocate of the deepest truths behind Public Kinship: we must love one another as ourselves; we must develop our own minds; we must find good ways of acting in a world that often appears hostile and chaotic. And he was as funny as he was wise!
What speaks to you in what he says? How do his beliefs, and the way he expresses them, relate to your own beliefs? Many of his writings are available through his Wikipedia bio.

Father Merton was a great believer in contemplation – only by being alone with ourselves and thinking things out can we truly make ourselves ready to act in society. What are some ways that you could practice this kind of contemplation?

What to do with others

Sometimes just sharing your learning and thoughts with others is the best start in making Public Kinship a group effort. If the words of Thomas Merton speak to you in any way, why not share those words with someone else? Talking about faith with others can be hard. Perhaps Merton can speak to you both.

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