Mayor William A. Johnson, Jr.


1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.

The Touch A Life Campaign represents a network of more than 50 local organizations with mentoring programs, sharing resources and enhancing the quality of regional mentoring initiatives. Touch A Life recruits mentors and refers them to the appropriate programs for training and placement. Sponsored by the City of Rochester, City School District, and the Greater Rochester Mentoring Roundtable, the Touch A Life Campaign is the result of people from a variety of backgrounds and specialities meeting and working together to focus on our greatest resource, youth, and the on-going need for mentoring opportunities.

2. When was the program created and why?

The program was created in 1996 in response to an evaluation of mentoring programs in eight cities, including Rochester, which revealed that youth who have a mentor are less likely to skip school, use alcohol and other drugs, and become involved in crime and/or violent activities. It was clear that Rochester needed more mentors, not more programs. The Touch A Life Campaign recruits mentors and matches them with existing programs.

3. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?

Hundreds of volunteers have been referred to mentoring organizations.

4. How is the program financed?

The program is financed through City funds and City School District funds.

5. How is the community involved in the program?

In response to Touch A Life ads and PSAs, individuals call to volunteer to become mentors.

6. What are the major lessons that can be learned from this program?

People will respond to campaigns to become mentors.

7. Contact person:

Peggy Weston Byrd, Rochester City School District, 716-262-8247

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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