by Paul Muratore
I was fortunate to retire early from corporate America last year, and when I thought about what I really wanted to do with my time the answer was obvious: Find and support mentors for kids who have no one. My 30 years as a volunteer at The Children’s Village have taught me that, although most kids leave campus and go back to their families, some boys have no one to go home to – literally, not one person who cares about their future.
The experience has taken me down many interesting and unusual roads. When Toby talked about his interest in maps, we spent hours in the map room of the New York Public Library. Then, with transit maps in hand, we rode the subways, discovering routes way off the beaten path of the 4 and 5. With Hasani, I had the privilege of being his partner as he explored career options – eventually discarding ideas about becoming a Navy Seal or a police officer for the decision to start with college.
With the help of CV staff, this spring I launched (as a volunteer) a program within CV called Connections. Its mission is to help young lives succeed by providing one-on-one, long-term mentoring to teenage boys in foster care. The ambitious goal is to match 20 boys with 20 mentors this year.
Connections will differ from CV’s current mentoring program, which focuses on kids on campus, in that Connections mentors will follow kids into the community when they leave campus. It’s more challenging, maybe a little scary, but it will allow mentors to forge a critical long-term connection. To make it work, I am raising funds to provide on-the-ground, 24/7 staff support to mentors. Sort of like a mentor to the mentors.
I want to thank Children’s Village for having the vision to allow me to take the next step in helping the kids who have no one. Click here for more information!