New York’s Leading Mentoring Organization To Host 20th Anniversary Conference

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    Mike Fagbemi will participate in the 20th annual conference on March 31

    Today’s young people are a full 10 percentage points less likely than millennials to have a mentor growing up. This decline in mentoring was discovered by a 2023 study conducted by MENTOR, a national organization whose mission is to fuel the quality and quantity of mentoring relationships for America’s young people.

    MENTOR’ s affiliate, MENTOR New York, the leading organization for mentoring in New York State, conducted a poll of its own this past December and found that 79 percent of mentoring programs are struggling with mentor recruitment and/or failing to meet the goals needed to sustain their programs. They found that during the pandemic in-person connections were limited, relationships were challenged, and day-to-day routines were changed. As a result, the attitudes and behaviors of volunteers have also changed.

    After learning these results, MENTOR New York conducted a more detailed study this February to help them better understand the issues surrounding mentor recruitment.  The survey was distributed to schools, mentoring, programs, youth-serving practitioners, mentors, and people who indicated they wanted to become a mentor, but ultimately did not.
    The results of MENTOR New York’s research will be presented at the 20th annual Mentoring Matters Conference, a virtual event that will bring together mentoring experts, practitioners, and youth leaders from across the state on March 31. Ultimately, MENTOR New York hopes to use the information to close the mentoring gap in New York State, learn what mentor recruitment methods are working, and what practices programs should eliminate.

    “Mentoring is a proven way to support young people’s social and emotional development, academic achievement, and career aspirations. Mentors provide guidance, encouragement, and opportunities for their mentees, and help them navigate the challenges and opportunities of life. But we have a mentoring gap in New York, and we need to close it. We aim to use the data from our surveys to develop better strategies and share our best practices and innovative solutions with our partners and stakeholders,” said Brenda Jimenez, CEO of MENTOR New York.

    The conference will feature a keynote Q&A interview with Reggie Love, a bestselling author and former personal aide to President Barack Obama. Love will share how mentoring shaped his career, how young people can be best engaged in the workplace, and what program practitioners should consider when recruiting mentors. His book, Power Forward, is a compelling professional coming-of-age story about how he went from working in Junior Senator Barack Obama’s mailroom to becoming his “body man” during his first presidential campaign. Love spent more time with President Barack Obama during his campaign and first term than anyone else.

    Love’s Q&A interview will be facilitated by Amelia Chicas, a Long Island native and sophomore economics student at Stony Brook University. Chicas serves as the Chair of Diversity Equity and Inclusion for the university’s chapter of Delta Sigma Pi, a national co-ed professional business fraternity. Through this role, she has developed as a leader and skilled facilitator. Recently, she hosted a panel discussion for her Delta Sigma Pi brothers to learn from MENTOR New York about elevating equity in the public and private sectors.

    “I’m honored to have the opportunity to interview Reggie Love at the Mentoring Matters Conference. I know how important mentoring is for young people as I have had mentors who have supported me, challenged me, and inspired me to pursue my goals and dreams. I hope to do the same for others in the future.” said Chicas.

    The conference will also include youth panels, practice-based workshops, and breakout sessions that cover a range of topics and issues relevant to the mentoring field.

    Mike Fagbemi, of the National Center on Deaf-Blindness in Sands Point, will participate in the 20th annual Mentoring Matters Conference. Fagbemi will host a workshop focusing on working with different populations and communities during the conference’s afternoon programs.

    Closing out the conference will be the voices of Solar One’s Youth Advisory Council (the YAC) which will speak about the creation, management, and benefits of building their youth board.

    The conference will once again be generously sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union, PSEG Long Island, and the McKoy Group with community support from their partners at Adelphi University and Niagara University’s Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity, and Mission.

    To learn more about the upcoming virtual event and get tickets, visit https://www.mentornewyork.org/virtual-conference

    —Submitted by MENTOR New York