Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.

January 11, 2002 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357


Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his office has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Maryland and the National Capital Area, to create a new statewide mentoring recruitment program called, Mentor Maryland. Citing his longtime commitment to youth crime prevention programs and the statistics which support the effectiveness of mentoring, Curran challenged Marylandís businesses, colleges and faith institutions to heed his call for 2002 mentors in 2002.

"Mentoring works. The friendship, guidance, and support of a caring, stable adult in a childís life can make a world of difference," Attorney General Curran said. "Studies show mentoring dramatically improves school attendance, graduation and college enrollment, and severely lowers rates of drug abuse and delinquent behavior."

In addition to creating a Leadership Council, consisting of people such as William Cardinal Keeler, Mayors Martin OíMalley, James Mathias, and Ellen Moyers, as well as Baltimore County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger, Nancy Grasmick, and Major Riddick, the Attorney General has already received commitments from 10 of the stateís colleges and universities in support of the program.

Curran plans to use the visibility of his Office, along with recently produced public service announcements, to champion mentoring on behalf of the "25 percent of school-age kids in Maryland considered at-risk." By speaking out about the effectiveness of Mentoring, the Attorney General hopes to build on a national trend that has seen the number of mentors rise steadily since the call was made in 1997 at the Presidentís Summit on Americaís Future.

"More than 70 members of the Office of the Attorney General, including myself, have been mentoring an entire eight grade class of a South Baltimore Middle School for over a year now, and it has been a wonderful experience."

Big Brothers Big Sisters, which has been actively involved in mentoring since 1904, will screen and place prospective mentors recruited by Curranís initiative. "The Attorney Generalís campaign is an important step in maximizing mentors across Maryland to help more boys and girls grow up confident, competent, and caring," said Robin Tomechko, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Maryland.

Anyone interested in becoming a mentor can get more information by calling 1-888-743-0023.