Harlem Students Celebrate Mentoring Program
Harlem, NY---Harlem students, who participate in the school based program of Mentoring USA, presented New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein with a special hand-crafted "memory book," complete with sketches and photographs chronicling their school years' "mentoring memories."
The event took place at the Harriet Tubman Learning Center (PS 154) in Harlem, where the children attend school.
Joining Chancellor Klein, (who received this one-of-a-kind treasure because of his on-going support of mentoring programs,) were mentoring champions, Mentoring USA Honorary Chair, the legendary Harry Belafonte; Board Director of HELP USA and Mentoring USA, actor, philanthropist, Charles Grodin; Founder of National CARES Mentoring Movement and former Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine Founder Susan L. Taylor; Chairwoman , Mentoring USA Matilda Raffa Cuomo and Chairwoman, HELP USA Maria Cuomo-Cole to sound a "mentoring recruitment call to action," particularly for males, the most needed mentors.
The students listened with rapt attention to Harry Belafonte who told them to "live up to your own expectations, we are here to help you."
Susan L. Taylor told the gathering: "Our community is in trouble, we need you to stay in school, graduate, do well and come to your community to help. "We need Black men, particularly, to volunteer as mentors-the experience is invaluable for both the adult and the child."
In addition, via a grant from Verizon, expansion of Mentoring USA programs was announced. This grant will facilitate plans for expansion in East New York, Brooklyn, Syracuse and Queens. Also attending today's festivities were: Jim Gerace, Verizon President of the New York Region ; Linda Mann and Michelle Blake-Wilson, USTA Eastern and USTA Serves Foundation
and Whitney Brown and Aaron Minor of NYC Service.
"Mentoring USA is making a difference in the lives of our students, and I want to thank Matilda Cuomo for her leadership in establishing such a wonderful organization," Chancellor Klein said. "The students at PS 154 know first-hand the valuable and inspirational role mentors play in helping them build self esteem, make positive life choices, and succeed in school. We are thrilled that Mentoring USA is growing-and that even more of our kids will be able to benefit from mentors."
"The three pillars of support for children are the home, the school, and the community. When one of these pillars is broken or dysfunctional, the child suffers. We are grateful to Verizon, in these challenging times, as they support Mentoring USA's expansion efforts in NYC," said Matilda Raffa Cuomo.
"Verizon mentors have been working with P.S. 154 students for over a decade," said Jim Gerace, Verizon President of the New York Region. "Building on the tremendous success of the P.S. 154 program, we are proud to be able to support the expansion of the program throughout New York City and into Central New York and look forward to many years of continued partnership."
Mentoring USA, founded by former first lady of New York, Matilda Raffa Cuomo, is an effective, early-intervention mentoring program to prevent school dropout. By providing mentors at schools, community centers and foster care agencies, Mentoring USA helps children, ages 7 to 21, improve their self esteem, through financial literacy training, nutrition and wellness, and bias-related anti-violence education. The Mentoring USA model has proven to be effective in helping a child to reach his or her full potential. When each child is matched with a trained, caring, adult volunteer mentor on a one-to-one basis, the child's grades improve, school absenteeism minimizes, and children gain confidence and hope for the future.
To view photos from the event click here.
To participate click here.