USA Holds Appreciation Reception
year’s Appreciation Reception for Mentoring USA’s volunteers and
devotees, which took place at the headquarters of the New York
City Police Department recently, became a ceremony of gratitude
to the very kids that the volunteers are helping. Speakers who
stepped up to the microphone extended their praises towards their
mentees and spoke warmly of the opportunity that they have been
given to work with these kids.
“Tiny” Archibald, NBA Hall of Famer, teacher, and mentor was in
present the Special Recognition Award to Natalie Lukas, who was
the Site Coordinator for JHS104 and spoke about “the joy of watching
them [mentors] give love and understanding.”
Other awards were presented to the New York City Police Department,
Bloomingdale’s, The Junior League of the City of New York, and
Morgan Stanley for their continued participation in the program.
Mentor and Police Officer Richard Pierre addressed the old adage
“it takes a village to raise a child” as he accepted the award
for the department. He underscored the importance of helping youngsters
view cops as members of this village and “come to realize that
the NYPD is more then just guns and badges.”
Other notable speakers were Matilda Raffa Cuomo, the Founder and
Chair of Mentoring USA, Richard P. Motta, the President and CEO
of HELP USA, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, and news anchor
Soledad O’Brien who is the mentor of three young girls and was
the evening’s Mistress of Ceremonies. O’Brien mentioned that although
mentoring is a giving experience, “Mentors are grateful” for being
able to spend time with such bright young kids. Natasha Atkins,
a program manager, who was busy recruiting new mentors at the
entrance to the large hall, credited her mentee, Jamilla McKae,
for allowing her to reconnect with her own inner-child.
Founded in 1995, Mentoring USA, a nonprofit organization which
pairs adult volunteer mentors with “at risk” kids has expanded
to two other continents. The program requests that adult volunteers
meet with their children once per week, nine to ten months out
of the year. The program hopes that this small weekly block of
stability will help to improve kids expectations and nourish their
self-esteem. As Richard Pierre aptly puts it, “Our youth must
believe that they can and will be successful.”#
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