Connections is a special mentoring program at The Children’s Village that connects men and women with young men who are getting ready to leave foster care and transition to independent living. Participants come from the NYC metro area, and are currently living on our Dobbs Ferry campus or in supportive housing in the NYC area.
Our main objective is to equip and pair a mentor with a youth in a one-on-one relationship. Building strong relationships allows our mentors to uniquely help our youth develop appropriate social behavior, encourage them to complete high school and explore post-secondary options, and assist with pursing employment opportunities. We come alongside our youth and help them feel valued and special, and add that extra bit of attention and direction as they explore their next steps.
Connections was launched in April 2016 by Paul Muratore, who has been mentoring youth at Children’s Village for over 30 years. Paul’s energy and knowledge of both mentoring and kids in care continues to fuel this vibrant program.
“There are so many elements of our lives that need to be maintained: health care, spiritual and emotional well-being, housing, and education,” says Paul. “Not having one or more of these things can be wildly destabilizing. Connections is different than other mentoring programs. We stay with our youth as they move toward that vulnerable point in their lives.”
“Teens getting charitable and governmental assistance is the safety net,” says Jeremy Kohomban, President and CEO of The Children’s Village. “But safety nets are not transformational. Just one positive adult relationship is all it takes to provide a teen with the feeling of real belonging. Our shared goal is to have every one of our teens experience the feeling of unconditional belonging.”
Become a Mentor
One positive adult relationship is sometimes the missing link for at-risk youth to become successful. Mentoring is an opportunity for you to develop a long-term, one-on-one relationship with a youth who is in need of a role model, friend, and caring adult. The mentors in our program aim to identify and connect the young men with resources to help in the development of the whole person.
The minimum age for a mentor is 25. Mentors spend approximately ten hours per month with their mentee for at least one year. We equip our mentors with impactful and timely training, ongoing 24/7 support, exciting and fun events, and mentor mingles to share ideas and offer each other support. Express your interest.
Become a Sponsor
Your organization can design and sponsor an event or program that we can offer to all of our mentors and mentees. Members of your group become a support system for the youth in the program. Some of our groups have monthly activities such as sporting events, film workshops, college orientations, storytelling, exploration of the arts, and life-skills workshops. We will help you decide on what activities will work for your group. Express your interest.
We rely on the generosity of individuals and organizations to sustain our innovative programming. No matter how small or how large, your contribution will enable us to impact more lives. Donate now.
Connections in the News
- NYN Media Outcomes Podcast on Evaluating Youth Programming
- Meet the millionaire mentor who sold his company so he could help troubled teens
- Mentors are the key to turning around at-risk youth
- Unlikely connections forged at Dobbs Ferry mentoring program
- Taking Mentoring to the Next Level
- CV volunteer starts mentoring program
- Westchester Exec Starts New Program To Help Disadvantaged Teens
- Mentoring at CV: Support Kids in Need
To get involved, contact Jahmeal Blain, Connections Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or (914) 693-0600, extension 1750. Follow us on Facebook!