Contact: Joe Poskin
Chicago, IL-A male mentoring initiative of Mentoring USA, the nation’s first state-sponsored school-based one-to-one mentoring program, is expanding its mentoring programs in Chicago through support from the Open Society Foundation Campaign for Black Male Achievement. The “MEN-TOUR” initiative will facilitate the recruitment, screening, and training of male mentors for black middle school and high school boys.
Mentoring USA founder Matilda Raffa Cuomo said, “Mentoring USA is delighted and proud to be expanding our program in Chicago, whose youth face many of the challenges as our children in New York experience including poverty and lack of mentorship. Our expansion into Chicago is part of a national effort to bring positive role models to at risk youth across America to help them succeed both in school and everyday life.”
The Chicago program expansion is especially focused on promoting community and faith-based mentoring programs, and Mentoring USA has partnered with Fathers Incorporated to encourage discussion about fatherlessness and the need for mentors. Fathers Incorporated will use its weMentor! initiative to help identify Windy City opportunities for fatherhood, family planning, and social service. Mentoring USA is also partnering with Windy City CARES and Trinity United Church of Christ’s Isuthu Rite of Passage program.
Mentor Eric Williams said, “At Trinity United Church of Christ we have learned that we have to work with God, other churches, government, schools, community-based organizations, universities, foundations, corporations and specialized non-profits like Mentoring USA, if we are to have a chance of truly making a difference in the lives of disadvantaged Black males and their too often single mothers.”
Due to continuous support from Bloomingdale’s Mentoring USA will expand its local gender-specific mentoring programming for girls with several female executives from Bloomingdale’s mentoring youth from Harlan High School and University of Chicago Charter School via a partnership with Polished Pebbles, Inc. In addition, Mentoring USA will work in collaboration with Windy City CARES, the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation and the Black Star Project to recruit male mentors of color and provide mentoring technical assistance. In 2013, Mentoring USA will identify additional schools and community centers to develop peer mentoring programming and facilitate a series of fatherhood and mentor engagement workshops with Father’s Incorporated.
Mentoring USA’s curriculum and mentor training includes four program pillars: healthy lifestyles and self-esteem, financial literacy, the arts, and the BRAVE anti-bullying initiative (Bias-Related Anti-Violence Education), which is designed to improve awareness and respect for diversity. Mentoring USA works with young people from elementary school to youth aging out of the foster care system.
About Mentoring USA
Mentoring USA is a leading national provider of one-to-one site based mentoring programs to enable young people to realize their potential. Mentoring USA’s curriculum and mentor training is nationally recognized and includes not only a comprehensive anti-bullying program, but also diversity, anti-violence, financial literacy, arts, academic support and healthy lifestyles initiatives, including a tennis program in partnership with the USTA. Mentoring USA’s program has a proven track record of success-100% of the students in Mentoring USA’s school-based mentoring programs moved on to the next grade level last year and all students are expected to advance to the next grade level this year as well. Mentoring USA has provided mentors to over 5,000 children in need since it was founded in 1995, by first lady of New York Matilda Raffa Cuomo. The innovative nonprofit pairs youth across the country with inspirational adult mentors who guide them in developing better self-esteem, creating healthy relationships, and making positive life choices.