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Standards Set a Good Example during National Mentoring Month

On Tuesday, December 31, 2013, President Barack Obama officially designated January as National Mentoring Month as part of an effort to "celebrate everyone who teaches, inspires, and guides young Americans as they reach for their dreams." In his proclamation he noted that mentors can include "teachers, coaches, ministers, and neighbors," and said that "young people with mentors have better attendance in school, higher self-esteem, a greater chance of pursuing higher education, and a reduced risk of substance abuse."

National Mentoring Month was first established in 2002 by the Harvard School of Public Health and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, and seeks to raise awareness about mentoring and its benefits and encourage individuals to volunteer as mentors. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) applauds National Mentoring Month and the many groups that carry out work to support mentoring, including standards developing organizations (SDOs) who have developed standards that bolster mentoring-related activities nationwide.

For individuals who take part in community-based mentoring programs, being a mentor can include a wide variety of activities, from providing academic advice and support to exposing your mentee to museums and other cultural centers. A standard from the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, provides important guidance on lighting systems used in museums, helping to assure that natural history exhibits and cubist paintings alike are appropriately lit. ANSI/IESNA RP-30-96, Museum and Art Gallery Lighting, sets down recommended practices in connection with successful museum lighting, electric light sources, maintenance, prevention of damage to museum exhibits, and other topics. The standard also includes a glossary of architectural and lighting terms. Another standard, NFPA 909-2010, NFPA 909: Code for the Protection of Cultural Resource Properties - Museums, Libraries, and Places of Worship, 2010 Edition, provides fire safety practices and principles for museums, libraries, churches, and other houses of worship, along with their contents, and individuals who work, use, or visit these locations. The standard was developed by ANSI member and audited designator the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

For adults interested in providing support and guidance for kids in a more active environment, coaching can be a great way for a mentor to impart important life lessons and values, such as team work and persistence. For mentors coaching ice hockey teams or figure skaters, ASTM F1703-13, Standard Guide for Skating and Ice Hockey Playing Facilities, provides important support. The standard includes considerations for the design, construction, and retrofitting of facilities for ice skating and ice hockey, with the goal of reducing possible hazards to skaters, hockey players, spectators, and others. The standard, which was developed by ANSI member and audited designator ASTM International, is intended to be used by owners and operators of ice skating and hockey facilities, as well as construction companies, architects, and others.

Even if you're not a sports fan or a museum buff, the knowledge and experience you've accrued over the years can be of great help to the children and young adults you mentor. Sharing your insight on an important aspect of day-to-day life, such as how best to keep your credit card and financial information safe and secure, can help provide your mentees with a strong base of knowledge for when the time comes for them to take on these responsibilities themselves. An American National Standard developed by ANSI member and accredited standards developer X9 Incorporated Accredited Standards Committee (ASC X9) provides guidance for point-of-sale (POS) transactions that make use of a credit card or bank account-linked debit card, as well as for automated teller machine (ATM) transactions, among other financial transactions. ANSI X9.24-1:2009, Retail Financial Services Symmetric Key Management Part 1: Using Symmetric Techniques, covers the generation, distribution, storage, replacement, and other elements of key management for this purpose, helping to assure the security of these transactions.

To learn more about National Mentoring Month, including how to get involved in mentoring in your community, visit


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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