NAC LogoEach week throughout National Mentoring Month, Mentoring USA is highlighting one program site where mentors serve as positive adult role models for youth in New York City.

This week’s featured program site is New Alternatives for Children (NAC), whose mission is to provide innovative, high-quality services in support of birth, foster, and adoptive families caring primarily for children with severe physical, emotional, and behavioral challenges and developmental disabilities. NAC mainly supports children whose birth families live in poverty; by supporting families, NAC prevents lengthy stays in foster care, hospitals, or other institutions.

Mentoring USA thanks Arlene Goldsmith, Executive Director of NAC, for her collaboration and support over the last 11 years. We also commend the excellent work of Jill HobbieCaroline Greig, and Liz Tabor, who lead and supervise mentoring groups with great detail and commitment. These phenomenal women are the glue that holds programming together!

Mentoring USA began its pilot program with NAC in 2004 with a Saturday mentoring group in Manhattan. Volunteers from the community and general public have served as mentors within this group, and many have remained mentors for several years.

With such amazing staff and support from NAC, Mentoring USA expanded to a second program in 2013 and recruited corporate partner RAND Engineering & Architecture, DPC to mentor NAC’s Thursday tutoring program. Mentees are exposed to various careers within an architecture firm via mentors, while also bonding with a caring adult. Activities such as Career Day have also shed light on different pathways mentees can aspire to.

RAND also promotes service and giving back within the mentoring sessions; their latest invite was to Canstruction 2014. Canstruction is an international charity competition where architects, engineers, contractors, and the students they mentor compete to design and build giant structures made entirely from full cans of food. At the close of the competition, all of the food from the New York City competition is donated to City Harvest. This field trip allowed the mentees to see the breadth of altruism RAND participates in. Mentoring USA is especially grateful to Stephen Varone, founder and president of RAND, for going above and beyond as a leader–and also volunteering as a mentor!