Mentors Of The World, Sign Up!

Allan Appel PhotoCity workers, listen up!

You may get an hour off a week from the job to mentor public school kids.

Mayor Toni Harp said her mentor, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, implemented that idea when he served as mayor of Stamford. She said she will now consider bringing that idea to New Haven.

The occasion was a press conference Friday in the library of the Truman School in the Hill. City, state, and non-profits execs came out in force to kick off the tenth annual Connecticut Mentoring Month organized by the Governor’s Prevention Partnership.

“The key message is recruitment,” said Governor’s Prevention Partnership President and CEO Jill Spineti.

Statewide 21,00 people already serve as mentors, said said; eight or nine times that number are needed. She said she would be pleased if this year if an additional 10,000 mentors, from high school kids to corporate employees, take up the challenge to spend an hour or two a week each with kids helping with academics and providing guidance, fun, and exposure to another way of being in the world beyond a child’s small circle.

State Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor said that kids are only half as likely to skip school or do bad things in life if they meet regularly with a mentor.

In New Haven the need is great, said Spineti, which is why Mayor Harp said she was intrigued with the Malloy’s city-employee idea after mentioned it in his remarks.

“I’m going to see what it will take to get it done,” Harp said.

Spineti guesstimated based on poverty figures that of New Haven’s approximately 22,000 students, 25 percent, or about 4,000, could benefit from mentors. According to a 2012 Governor’s Prevention Partnership survey, only 3 percent of schoolchildren were being provided with mentors, a total of 689 kids with 553 mentors.

Sue Weisselberg, the city’s director of “wraparound services” (social service programs helping kids),  estimated that 75 percent of New Haven’s 50 or so schools have some kind of mentoring. “We know we can do better,” she said.

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posted by: NewHavenTaxTooHigh on January 13, 2014  5:01pm

“The key message is recruitment,” said Governor’s Prevention Partnership President and CEO Jill Spineti.

Yep, it’s recruitment alright - recruitment for the union and the Democratic Party.

posted by: Babz Rawls Ivy on January 14, 2014  11:50am

My first job out of Grad school I was a National Urban Fellows studying at Baruch/CUNY) I worked for then Governor Rowland, in the Dept of Higher Ed.  The CT commitment to America’s Promise was housed there, as well as AmeriCorps…. America’s Promise was General Colin Powell’s organization that addresses the things children need… 5 points: Caring Adults, Safe Places, A Healthy Start, Effective Education, and Opportunities to Help Others.
My job was to work with recruiting State Employees… if they volunteered with Big Brothers/Sisters for a year they’d get an extra week of vacation! The idea was s[read out beyond volunteering with Big Brother/Sister.

It was innovative and daring. I got to go all over the State of CT talking about this.  I got to talk to other States about how to do it legislatively.

I think this is a great step in the right direction for New Haven.  This City is rich with talent that is perhaps underutilized on behalf of our youth.

Cheers to Mayor Harp!