The magic of mentoring is that moment when an adult and a young person realize they care about each other, can learn from each other and feel connected. This heartfelt moment is different for each mentor-mentee relationship, but once it happens there is no turning back. Mentors describe being “hooked” on mentoring, and youth mentees describe—sometimes years later—how their lives became different and better because someone stepped up to offer support.
The mentoring movement has been led nationally for 24 years by MENTOR and a network of state and local mentoring partnerships. The Northeast region is fortunate to have vibrant partnerships in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Long Island and New York City. While each partnership focuses on local issues and, therefore, may function differently, all have a lot in common, including an overall goal to expand mentoring to serve more youth and working to guide this expansion through a set of principles that ensure effective outcomes and a positive, healthy experience for the youth who are involved.
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Most mentoring programs—no matter where they’re located—report that they have to stretch resources, and in some cases, can’t do everything that is required just to serve, many times, small numbers of young people.
This is why it’s critical for businesses like Webster Bank to step up and assist. For over 10 years, Webster Bank has been encouraging its employees to get involved as mentors at local schools. In their footprint in the Northeast region, there are just over 100 employees volunteering as mentors.
While asked for a one-year commitment, many Webster mentors sign up year after year, and in some cases have followed the same young person through high school graduation and beyond. The effects of mentoring are profound and move in both directions—the young person feels cared about and is able to grow, raise his or her expectations, and feel more attached to school; the mentors feel fulfilled and proud to work for a corporation that allows them to give back during the work day.
In January, National Mentoring Month, Webster Bank is being recognized for their corporate involvement by MENTOR as the local winner for "Excellence and Commitment to Quality Youth Mentoring" at the 2015 National Mentoring Summit in Washington DC. We’re so pleased to put the Northeast region on the map with this recognition.
Here’s what you can do to help expand mentoring:
- Sign up to be a mentor if you aren’t already one. Check the database at Mentoring.com or one of the state or local partnerships linked below to find an opportunity near you.
- If you’re already a mentor, talk it up at work or at home—each young life is precious, and 1 more mentor, or 10 or 20 more, will make a substantial difference.
- Encourage other businesses that you interact with to get involved. There are different ways to make it work and your local or state mentoring partnership can assist with information and resources.
Young people who have mentors often grow up to BE mentors – they KNOW Mentoring Works! Thanks for your support during January, National Mentoring Month, and throughout the year.
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Jean Lahage Cohen, Executive Director
Mentoring Partnerships of New York and Long Island
Marty Martinez, President and CEO
Mass Mentoring Partnership
Jo-Ann Schofield, President and CEO
Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership
Jill K. Spineti, President and CEO
The Governor's Prevention Partnership/CT Mentoring Partnership