WHEREAS, the well-being and development of young people is one of the highest objectives of our state government; and
WHEREAS, a large and growing number of Missouri's young people grow up without sufficient positive role models; and
WHEREAS, on any given day there are an estimated 60,000 children who have a parent in a Missouri state prison; and
WHEREAS, responsible and accountable school-based mentoring programs, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, offer a well-established means of providing positive adult influences; and
WHEREAS, respected mentoring programs have been independently found to generate significant improvements in the lives of the children and adolescents whom they serve; and
WHEREAS, research shows that school-based mentoring for children has resulted in improvements in academic performance, positive attitudes toward school, higher levels of self-confidence, relationships with peers and high school graduation rates; and
WHEREAS, the need for volunteer mentors is great in many communities throughout the state of Missouri, with some areas reporting long waiting lists of children and adolescents who want and need mentors; and
WHEREAS, the recruitment of responsible, caring adults to fill this important need for mentors is in the best interest of all Missourians; and
WHEREAS, an increasing number of state governments, local governments, and businesses nationwide are allowing and encouraging their employees to invest time away from their duties to engage in mentoring activity; and
WHEREAS, the state of Missouri's governmental workforce constitutes a large body of highly capable public servants who represent all areas of the state; and
WHEREAS, employees of the state of Missouri are dedicated to serving the needs of the public at large; and
WHEREAS, I am committed to ensuring that the state of Missouri is at the forefront in implementing sound and innovative policies to help enhance the lives of the state's youth.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, MATT BLUNT, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the state of Missouri, do hereby create and establish the Missouri Mentor Initiative, under which up to 200 full-time employees of the state of Missouri are eligible for one hour per week of paid approved work to mentor in Missouri public primary and secondary schools for up to 40 hours annually. Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder will be responsible for coordinating and managing the initiative. Employee eligibility to participate in the program will be subject to rules established by the state of Missouri and its departments and agencies.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Missouri, in the City of Jefferson, on this 11th day of April, 2007.
[Matt Blunt's signature]
[Robin Carnahan's signature]
Secretary of State