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De Blasio Administration Launches "City Mentoring" Program, Matching Mayor's Office Employees with Volunteer Opportunities to Increase Mentoring for City Youth

January 31, 2017

New HR "mentoring" policy allows Mayor's Office employees to mentor for up to three hours per month during the standard workday

NEW YORK--The de Blasio Administration, in an effort led by the Yong Men's Initiative and NYC Service, marked the end of national mentoring month by launching a new program that allows Mayor's Office employees to volunteer as mentors for up to three hours per month during the standard seven-hour workday.

"City Mentoring" is powered by MENTOR New York, the local branch of the national MENTOR organization, whose staff will match employees with convenient, flexible opportunities to mentor youth ages 11-21 in schools, at community-based organizations and in Cornerstone programs at NYCHA developments.

The new program and HR policy will help meet the goals of the recently announced NYC Youth Mentoring initiative, a multi-sector, citywide effort to establish mentoring programs in 400 New York City high schools by 2022 and annually engage 14,000 New Yorkers as volunteer mentors. This larger effort supports the City's Equity and Excellence plan to achieve 80 percent high school graduation and two-thirds college-readiness rates by 2026.

"The City Mentoring program gives public servants the time needed to connect with youth and share some of their insight. The program also will get us closer to our ambitious goal of engaging 14,000 New Yorkers as mentors annually," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "Programs like City Mentoring are vital because we know that when young men and women have the right role models and guidance in life, they are more likely to succeed and reach their full potential in academics and future careers."

"It's no exaggeration to say that mentoring played a transformative role in my life and career. As a novice mentor in college, I soon discovered that being part of a young person's life is one of the single most effective ways to add meaning and new perspective to one's own," said Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. "I'm so excited that the vehicle that helped guide me to a career in public service is open to all Mayor's Office employees through this program. I highly encourage everyone to sign up to become a mentor today!"
"City Mentoring is an important step forward as we work together to annually engage 14,000 New Yorkers as volunteer mentors to 40,000 high school students through the citywide NYC Youth Mentoring Initiative," said NYC Chief Service Officer Paula Gavin. "NYC Service is proud to be part of this unified effort to invest in our youth and the future of this City and we encourage any New Yorker interested in becoming a personal champion to a young person to visit and find an opportunity in your community today."

"The Young Men's Initiative was founded on the belief that true equity in New York City can only be achieved if we narrow the disparities that specifically plague youth of color. One of the simplest ways to do that is by ensuring boys and girls of color have older figures in their lives who expand their ideas on what the future holds for them," said Cyrus Grant, Executive Director of the New York City Young Mens Initiative (YMI). "City Mentoring presents Mayor's Office employees the opportunity to engage directly in this "equity" strategy. I am so excited to bring the talents of this workforce to young New Yorkers and encourage everyone to consider signing up for mentorship programs in critically underserved neighborhoods in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens."

"At MENTOR New York, our mission is to encourage healthy and successful development of young people. Young people are our future clients, our future educators, our future leaders and -our future! We're so pleased that Mayor de Blasio is spearheading this commitment to them. By bringing the talents of some of New York's best workforce to be mentors, we set our youth up for great success. We salute Mayor de Blasio, NYC Service and the NYC Young Men's Initiative for making this program possible," said Jean Lahage Cohen, Executive Director of Mentor New York.

Through the matching portal, employees can filter opportunities by borough, distance from work or home, and by mentoring setting and type - either virtual or in-person. To reach youth in neighborhoods identified by the NYC Young Men's Initiative as priority communities, employee volunteers may choose to be placed in East Harlem, South Bronx, South Jamaica, Brownsville, East New York, or Staten Island's North Shore, regardless of distance from work or home. Priority neighborhoods are determined by educational performance, average family income, involvement with the criminal justice system, and transportation accessibility. 

Of these 400 organizations, 20 have active listings in critically underserved areas in greatest need of volunteers. Organizations represented include Big Brother Big Sister New York, Read Ahead, BronxWorks, Brooklyn Community Services, -PENCILS.

Following successful adoption of the new program by the Mayor's Office, the City will work with human resource departments at other City Agencies and Authorities to expand City Mentoring to all employees of the City of New York. 

Through the NYC Young Men's Initiative, New York City is a model city of the My Brother's Keeper (MBK) Initiative created by President Obama in 2014 to reduce the opportunity gap faced by young men of color in the United States. During the final MBK convening under the Obama administration in November 2016, the White House partnered with MENTOR and its local MBK communities to make mentoring a priority through the United We Serve campaign. 
New York City will continue the MBK legacy through the City Mentoring and Youth Mentoring programs both launched in January 2017.

"Mentorship is a bridge from obstacles to opportunities, helping our young people reach their goals with the guidance of caring and committed navigators. Mentors have played a vital role in my life, and I have done my best to pay that forward to the next generation. I applaud City Hall's efforts to make mentoring a more central focus daily public service," said Borough President Eric L. Adams.

"The important role that mentors play in the development of our city's youth cannot be understated. As Chairman of the Youth Services Committee, I am proud to support this important program that will better prepare our children for future success. Pairing up our young men and women with employees of the Mayor's office is a tremendous way to instill in them strong values that will benefit our great city as a whole for years to come," said Council Member Mathieu Eugene.

"This new mentorship program is great news for our city's youth," said Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Committee on Education. "Mentorship is an invaluable asset for all young people. It helps them form healthy habits that will lead to academic and career success. I applaud the Mayor for incentivizing his staff to contribute to this important effort, and am proud to fully support the program."

"Mentoring our young men in New York City is important and the need is great. This initiative only helps to make our city better," said Nikki Lucas, Female District Leader for the 60th Assembly District.

"As the nation's first and New York's largest youth mentoring organization, we applaud the launch of the de Blasio Administration's "City Mentoring" program," said Hector Batista, chief executive officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City. "In today's society especially, it is absolutely crucial that young people have positive adult role models to help them make constructive decisions and rise above negative influences. We witness the impact of mentoring every day, and this new program will provide even more young people across New York City with the resources they need to succeed in life. These public servants already do so much for their city, and this program will further extend their impact."

"The City Mentoring program is exactly what New York City needs. In this bustling metropolis with millions of residents, there's no shortage of potential volunteers. What can be a challenge for many is finding the time. But Mayor de Blasio's initiative addresses this problem. At iMentor, we believe every student deserves a champion, a mentor committed to helping them succeed. And thanks to the Mayor, more students will be matched with mentors." said Max Polaner, executive director of iMentor NYC.

"I am excited about the Mayor's announcement today regarding mentoring. As founder of an organization focused on mentoring young inner-city African girls, I am proud that this administration is putting an emphasis on mentoring youth across the city," said Musu Drammeh, Founder and President of Cultural African Preservation.

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