National Mentoring Month
National Mentoring Month focuses on the different ways we make mentoring available. The goal is to raise awareness of opportunities and recruit individuals to become mentors. Generally, we think about mentors to be positive role models for young people in our communities. However, mentoring is such a powerful tool that it’s not relegated to only youth. Within your organization, there are also opportunities to mentor more junior team members as well as opportunities for reverse mentoring relationships where more junior talent is supporting more senior talent in concepts, topics, and ways that senior-level workers haven’t been exposed to before.
Observance Suggestion: Give space for your team members to volunteer. Allow paid time off. Revisit and revise your current mentoring programs to ensure there is cultural competence training so that diverse mentees are truly supported. Reach out to us if you want support evaluating your current program or help to develop a more inclusive program.
Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month
Human trafficking is a huge violation of human rights. Each year, millions of people are trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced labor, putting this as one of the biggest global crises we’re currently facing. The modern-day prison system is still tantamount to slavery. This month is intended to raise awareness about slavery and human trafficking, the ways they both show up today, and the ways we can work to prevent them from continuing.
Observance Suggestion: Bring in a professional so you can learn how to spot and report human trafficking when you see it. Donate to organizations that are working to support survivors. And scrub your supplier list to ensure you’re not supporting products that are using slave labor.
January 1 – New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day offers rest from the biggest holiday season and optimism for the next year. Many people make resolutions for themselves to lose weight, eat better, spend more time with their families, or do any number of activities they feel would make the next year even better than the last. This is a great time to reflect on what went down in the past year, what came up, and how to move forward.
Observance Suggestion: Ask your employees, in their small teams, to collaborate on people and culture resolutions for the coming year. What could be better? What could you work on as a team? What would make the culture inside of your organization stronger and more diverse than before? Use this as a guide and let’s talk about how we can make those resolutions a reality.
January 4 – National Braille Day
January 4th celebrates the advancements of braille and the founder, Luis Braille’s birthday. While the beginning of braille started with a series of codes and “night writing” to communicate in Napoleonic Wars, today we know it as the communication for those who have vision impairment. This tactile “language” makes knowledge more accessible, and we continue to improve on that accessibility by incorporating it into digital devices and computers.
Observance Suggestion: Take a look at your physical building. Is everything accessible to vision-impaired people? Do bathroom signs include braille? How about directions to various offices or any waiting room reading material? Consider your website as well and learn how you can make all of your information accessible beyond the written word.
January 7 – Christmas (Eastern Orthodox)
While many around the world celebrate Christmas on December 25, the Orthodox Church celebrates it on January 7th. Just like the December 25th Christmas, people celebrate by attending church services and exchanging gifts. A fantastic way to keep the holiday celebrations going!
Observance Suggestion: Even if you exchanged gifts in December, consider giving gifts to any Orthodox church members on this day. Not only is this a fun way to celebrate, but it’ll also show the respect they deserve for celebrating the holiday when it makes sense to them.
January 7 – Mahayana New Year (Buddhist)
As one of the two main branches of Buddhism, Mahayana is practiced around the world. This new year is a time for self-reflection on an individual’s journey to Nirvana. Buddhists consider the lessons they’ve learned in the past as well as the goals they have for their future. But don’t let the internal conversations let you believe the Mahayana New Year is dull. It’s full of feasts and fireworks and celebrations full of loved ones, too!
Observance Suggestion: Talk to the Buddhist people inside your organization and learn more about their philosophy (it’s not just a religion). Be open to understanding how they view life and work and ask how they’re celebrating their New Year. (Note: they may be a part of the Theravada branch of Buddhism, celebrating New Year in April instead of January)
January 15 – World Religion Day
Celebrated on the third Sunday in January, World Religion Day reminds us that there is a need for harmony and understanding in the different religions around the world. Currently, there are over 4,000 religions worldwide, leaving a lot of opportunities for learning and connecting. Differences in religions don’t have to incite fights. They can invite conversation around a person’s beliefs and ideals by which they live and work by.
Observance Suggestion: Host a seminar in which you hear the voices of several different religions. Learn how they may be similar to a religion you know well, and discover the beautiful differences. You may be surprised to see how closely a religion you don’t know matches up to the one(s) you practice.
January 16 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (USA)
On this day we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr’s life and achievements. As one of the most influential civil rights leaders, he dedicated his work to racial equality, ending racial segregation in the United States. Through all of his hard work, this day we are reminded of how important it is to continue to work for the celebration of diversity and reach for equity while we address civil rights issues around the globe.
Observance Suggestion: On this day many people will post and share MLK Jr’s popular speech quotes. However, try sharing more of the lesser-known parts of his speeches. Help give a fully rounded view of MLK’s ideas. He was so much more than the typical soundbites.
January 22 — Chinese New Year (Year of the Rabbit)
Over 20 percent of the world’s population will be celebrating the Chinese New Year with more fireworks than any other holiday, parades, and shouts of joy and blessings. As the first day of a 15-day celebration, it’s difficult to find a more celebrated day among the Chinese people full of goodwill and good luck.
Observance Suggestion: Get in on the fun! Ask any Chinese team members if there are celebrations you can attend and enjoy. Also, take part in the red envelope traditions. Red is a symbol of good luck, and monetary gifts are a wish for good fortune. Tip: Keep the money in an even amount and leave out the number four.
January 24 – International Day of Education
Education is a basic human right, yet millions of children worldwide are denied a quality education. The Internation Day of Education was created to campaign for better education for all, creating reform and improvements wherever possible.
Observance Suggestion: Research scholarship opportunities in your area and donate to them to support their efforts to help give access to quality education to those who don’t have access. If possible, consider sponsoring your own scholarship opportunities within your organization. Campaign for donations and funds to help bring education to underprivileged children and families.
January 27 – International Holocaust Remembrance Day
It’s important to remember the heinous genocide Nazi Germany took part in from 1941 to 1945. During this time, over six million Jews died in the Nazi’s “solution” for eliminating Jewish people from Germany. Remembering the stories of Holocaust victims and survivors will educate us about what humans are capable of, so we can prevent similar acts in the future.
Observance Suggestion: Donate to a Holocaust Museum. Museums are a valuable part of sharing the stories of Holocaust victims and survivors. Keep those stories alive by funding when and where you can.