(DES MOINES) – The recipients of the 2012 Excellence in Mentoring Award have recently been announced by the Office of Governor Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Reynolds, and the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service.  The awards will be presented during a special recognition ceremony to be held in conjunction with the annual Mentoring Day on the Hill on January 30,2012 in Des Moines.

Mentoring Day on the Hill and the Excellence in Mentoring Award ceremony will serve as the culminating event for National Mentoring Month 2012.  Mentoring Day on the Hill, which will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the state capitol rotunda, will provide an opportunity for legislators and the public to learn more about how mentoring is playing an integral role in fulfilling Iowa’s Promise to children and youth.  The Excellence in Mentoring Award ceremony will begin at 2:00 p.m. in the east wing of the rotunda.  Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds will serve as guest speakers and will distribute the awards.  Both events are open to the public.

“It’s not at all surprising to me that Iowa is ranked second in the nation for its state volunteerism rate and fifth in the nation for its state mentoring rate,” said Adam Lounsbury, executive director of the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service.  “We know Iowans have a strong ethic and history of serving others, but there are still more than 3,000 Iowa children who are waiting for a mentor this new year.  We ask the public to not only join us in honoring a few of Iowa’s most outstanding mentors, but also challenge more Iowans to volunteer as mentors in 2012.”

The three recipients of the 2012 Excellence in Mentoring Award include:

  • Jessi Black of Moline has served as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley for three years.  Jessi understands that mentoring isn’t just about helping a “needy” child; mentoring is more about having your life enriched by getting close enough to a child to make a difference.
  • Nick Gow of Muscatine became a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Muscatine County in 2006.  Almost six years later, Nick is still matched with the same Little Brother and has fostered a lifelong friendship that has been a positive influence on both the Big and the Little.
  • Marytha Pitt of Nevada began volunteering with the GRIP Mentoring Program in 2005 after retiring from 37 of years of teaching.  Marytha is still mentoring the same student with whom she was initially paired and has become an invaluable advocate for mentoring in Story County.

Mentoring Day on the Hill and the Excellence in Mentoring Award are coordinated by the Iowa Mentoring Partnership, the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service and the Governor’s Office.  For more information, visit,, e-mail or call 800.308.5987.

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