Home Home Home About Us Home About Us About Us About Us /links/index.html /links/index.html /links/index.html /advertising/index.html /links/index.html /advertising/index.html /advertising/index.html /advertising/index.html About Us About Us /archives/index.html About Us /archives/index.html About Us /archives/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /links/index.html /survey/index.html /links/index.html /links/index.html /links/index.html
Home About Us About Us /links/index.html /advertising/index.html /advertising/index.html
About Us /archives/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /links/index.html










Camps & Sports


Children’s Corner

Collected Features


Cover Stories

Distance Learning


Famous Interviews


Medical Update

Metro Beat

Movies & Theater


Music, Art & Dance

Special Education

Spotlight On Schools

Teachers of the Month


















New York City
August 2002

We Need Mentors
By Matilda Raffa Cuomo and Jack M. Adrien

In 1987, when we established the New York State Mentoring Program (NYSMP), our vision was to provide children at risk of dropping out of school with the resources, materials and specially trained mentors on whom they could count. The current New York State administration eliminated the NYSMP in 1995. However, Mentoring USA has been successful in keeping that dream alive. Unfortunately, there are still 250,000 children desperately in need of a mentor. We have come far since 1987 when the NYSMP was initiated, but there is still so much work to be done.

David McCourt, who on September 11 lost his wife, Ruth, and daughter Juliana, four years old, has given a grant to Mentoring USA for B.R.A.V.E. (Bias Related Anti-Violence Education) an effective program to “keep Juliana’s memory alive” in order to foster harmony, peace and understanding among the children of the United States and the world. The program is now called B.R.A.V.E. Juliana and is designated to educate all children about diversity with books of ethnic heroes and demonstrate ethnic-conflict resolution.

The word is spreading as to the importance of mentoring, but there yet remains much work to do. The need for qualified mentors seems to increase faster than the capacity to recruit and train them. The first step in this endeavor must always be to get the word out.

The role of a mentor is an integral part of a child’s life. In my book, The Person Who Changed My Life, I was fortunate to relay the personal accounts of professional people from all walks of life actively involved in the arts, entertainment, politics, etc. Each of these accomplished individuals had one thing in common: the guiding presence of an adult who served as a mentor. My book was also featured on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which originally aired on March 22, 2000 for a segment discussing the importance of volunteerism. Mentoring USA is listed as a volunteer resource for Oprah’s Angel Network, and the book will be reprinted as a result of the growing interest and demand for resources outlining the importance of mentoring.

The importance of mentoring is profound; the National Mentoring Project had dedicated the month of January as National Mentoring Month, with the theme in 2003: “Who mentored you? Thank them…and pass it on! Mentor a child.” For every child who enjoys the benefits of a mentoring relationship, there are regrettably five more children waiting for someone to invest time in their future. And as they wait, how many of them fall between the cracks and are lost to us forever? The only way for every person to become aware of the importance and necessity of mentoring is for people to discuss what an important role mentoring has played in their life.

The next step is to tell everyone just what an incredible experience it is to serve as a mentor. Part of the joy of being a mentor is sharing that wonderful experience with family members, friends, and co-workers. Allow others to appreciate the impact that you have had on the life of one special child. This will help to increase the overall recognition of mentoring as well as concentrate on just how pressing it is to find mentors for the children who are not as fortunate as the child you have come to know. The only way to truly encourage understanding is to promote awareness.

Lastly, invite the people in your life to participate in a mentoring program. We are connected to so many different people in every area of our lives. Provide your friends and acquaintances with the opportunity to also take part in a gratifying mentoring experience. The first step is often the hardest, so talk about mentoring with the members of your church, mosque, or synagogue. Involve the members of your Parent Teacher Association, Community Boards, or block associations. Suggest mentoring as a community service initiative to your fraternity or sorority, labor union or civic organization. The involvement in the mentoring process may take many forms. Numerous corporations have partnered with Mentoring USA and have made substantial in-kind donations of computers, books, as well as cash donations to the sites we service. Notably, Bloomingdale’s, Hasbro, Inc. and Morgan Stanley have not only actively aided with the recruitment of their employees to serve as mentors, but also have been generous supporters to providing vital resources for the Mentoring USA sites. There are always opportunities available to include someone looking for a way to become actively involved with children but who may not know how to get started. It is the role of Mentoring USA to initiate the new volunteers with training and placement. The mission is to give every child the chance to develop a strong relationship that can last a lifetime.#

Matilda Raffa Cuomo is Founder and Chair of Mentoring USA. Jack M. Adrien is Mentoring USA’s Director of Volunteer Recruitment and Retention.  


Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001.
Tel: (212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919.Email: ednews1@aol.com.
All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of the publisher. © 2002.