Mentoring USA’s mission is to create positive and supportive mentor relationships for youth ages 7-21, through a structured site-based model.


Mentoring USA believes that the presence of a caring adult in a young person’s life increases self-esteem, strengthens relationships with peers and adults, improves academic performance and attendance, and helps combat school drop-out. Research increasingly indicates that children who succeed, despite often enormous personal, economic or social obstacles, do so because of caring, competent adults who believe in them. Mentoring outcomes are reciprocal: mentors attest to enhanced self image and self esteem, fulfilling expression of personal values and accrue cultural capital and a diverse perspective.


Mentoring USA is a structured, site-based, mentoring organization that began as the first state-sponsored, school-based, one-on-one mentoring program in the country in 1987. The program founded by former First Lady of the State of New York, Matilda Raffa Cuomo, became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1995, and has provided mentors for more than 5,000 children since its inception and serves youth nationally and internationally.

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Matilda Raffa Cuomo’s life has been dedicated to service. As Founder of Mentoring USA, she has long been a respected and distinguished advocate on behalf of women, children and families.


In 1987 a statewide, non-partisan committee chaired by Matilda Raffa Cuomo, then First Lady of New York, established the New York State Mentoring Program.

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Mentoring USA is deeply grateful to our supporters and partners. They make it possible for so many young people to have a caring, nurturing adult in their life and to experience the workplace.

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