Mayors for Mentoring

leadership makes a difference

With the leadership of our network of affiliate Mentoring Partnerships and in collaboration with mentoring programs, mayors across the country are scaling quality mentoring initiatives, mobilizing their communities and better equipping young people to succeed through improved school attendance and achievement; high school graduation; workforce readiness and connection to their communities.

Mayors

Jacksonville, FL, Mayor Alvin Brown

Mayor Brown views mentoring as a strategic necessity to promote higher levels of quality in the public school system. He’s worked tirelessly with nonprofit and faith-based organizations to generate fresh interest in mentoring while recruiting more than 600 volunteers and counting to serve his “Mayor’s Mentors” program. These efforts recently won honors as the best mentoring program in the city, as selected by “Hands on Jax,” a local non-profit that encourages volunteerism.

 

Orlando, FL, Mayor Buddy Dyer

Listed as Orlando’s most powerful person in 2013 by Orlando Magazine, Mayor Buddy Dyer continues to provide support to COMPACT, a 25 year-old mentoring organization that has served more than 12,000 at-risk students in Orlando/Orange County, challenging them to succeed and reach their maximum potential. Mayor Dyer most recently funded the COMPACT Expansion Program that places AmeriCorps Vista volunteers in schools to increase capacity, recruit additional volunteers and provide necessary “on the ground” support in an effort improve student academic performance and decrease absenteeism. Mayor Dyer was quoted as saying in his 2013 State of the City address, “Our economic vitality and quality of life depends on putting more kids on a path to high school graduation, college and a quality job.”

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Tallahassee, FL, Mayor Andrew D. Gillum

Mayor Andrew D. Gillum has always shown a great deal of passion when it comes to investing in the future of Tallahassee’s young people.  In 2010, Mayor Gillum supported efforts to convert a former neighborhood recreational center into the Palmer-Monroe Teen Center to help meet the emotional, physical, artistic and educational needs of area teens and deter young people away from the Court system and toward productive and constructive activity.  Recently, Mayor Gillum called to recruit a cadre of 1,000 men and women who are willing to serve the local community by volunteering at least one hour of their time, at least once a week, to meet with a mentee.  “We cannot sacrifice our young people to a generation of hopelessness, and mentors can play a special role in helping to motivate and inspire others,” Gillum said.

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St. Petersburg, FL, Mayor Rick Kriseman

St. Petersburg’s Mayor Rick Kriseman believes that educating our children is the responsibility of the entire community.  To that end, the city joins with the Pinellas Education Foundation in a unique partnership called St. Pete’s Promise to focus the attention of our community on the needs of our children.  In addition, the City of St. Petersburg has adopted an administrative policy providing a paid hour each week for all City of St. Petersburg employees to mentor students in need in our public schools.  More than 200 city employees take advantage of that opportunity, and more than 1/3 of our city employees contribute from their paychecks to sponsor Pinellas Education Foundation Take Stock in Children Scholarships for deserving St. Petersburg children.

Chicago, IL, Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has challenged the Chicago business community to raise $50 million over five years for early intervention programs for younger youth, as well as jobs, mentoring, recreation and conflict-resolution programs for teens to counter the city’s gang violence. Allstate Insurance CEO Tom Wilson, whose company has agreed to contribute the first $5 million, will co-chair the campaign with Loop Capital Markets CEO Jim Reynolds. Emanuel noted, “There’s the response part: policing. There’s a gun-control aspect. And there’s also a prevention piece. For everything else to work, you have to have this prevention scaled up. This is not just about getting money out. It’s about getting the right results: kids back in school or learning a skill set so they can have a productive life.”

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Gary, IN Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson

Under Mayor Freeman-Wilson, the city of Gary launched the Mentoring Trust in partnership with NIPSCO, the regional utility company. NIPSCO provides eligible employees with paid time off to mentor. NIPSCO Manager of Corporate Citizenship and Employee Involvement and Gary native Eddie Melton stated, “Mentoring is going to be a key component for the turnaround, the renewal, the revival of the city.” Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson agrees that “mentoring is a key piece in the rebuilding of our community.”

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Pleasant Hill, IA, Mayor Sara Kurovski

After becoming the first female mayor of Pleasant Hill, the phone calls and emails began. Not from citizen complaints but from young women asking for Mayor Kurovski to mentor them. Mayor Kurovski informally mentors young women throughout the community and builds relationships through meetings based around their needs and interests. Mayor Kurovski was selected to be the Mayor’s Chair of the Million Women Mentors Iowa effort. In this capacity, she engages with other elected officials to encourage and teach them about the importance of mentoring in their city and the role that they can play.

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Louisville, KY, Mayor Greg Fischer

Mayor Greg Fischer strives to promote compassion in Louisville through a variety of programs, ranging from the Give A Day community-wide service initiative to a concerted, long-term effort to reduce violence. Mentoring is a part of Mayor Fischer’s dedication to fostering compassion and the skills for lifelong learning and success throughout Louisville. Mayor Fischer has created the Metro Mentors program, which allows thousands of Louisville Metro Government employees the opportunity to give two hours of paid time per week to a variety of mentoring programs. These programs include Big Brothers Big Sisters, Metro Parks & Recreation and the public school system’s reading and tutoring program. The Metro Mentors program allows city employees an opportunity to help Louisville’s youth become the successful, dedicated leaders of tomorrow.

New Orleans, LA, Mayor Mitchell Landrieu

Mayor Mitchell Landrieu’s NOLA FOR LIFE, a comprehensive strategy to tackle the city’s high murder rate, recently announced that 23 local nonprofit organizations were awarded a total of $500,000 to deliver high-quality programs and social services to young men who are most at risk of killing or being killed. Youth mentoring is one of the interventions used in several of the grantee programs. “When we created the NOLA FOR LIFE plan, we knew that we had to take a holistic approach to stemming the violence that rips at the heart and soul of our city,” Landrieu said. “To help these young men have a future, and to end the cycle of violence and death on our streets, we must have all hands on deck and we must join forces and provide the financial, human and institutional resources to work with (them).” Chevron was the first major donor to the NOLA FOR LIFE Fund, giving $1 million; the City of New Orleans contributed $250,000.

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Baltimore, MD, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is committed to providing high-quality education and opportunities for mentoring to all of Baltimore’s youth. In 2010, she rolled out a targeted effort to match mentors with 235 children from neighborhoods with historically high rates of violence through a public/private partnership that included Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Maryland and Comcast. In her 2015 State of the City Address, Mayor Rawlings-Blake issued a Call to Action when she asked men committed to making a difference in the lives of Baltimore’s children, to serve as mentors, volunteers, tutors, job training coaches, and more. This call to action provides resources for men interested in serving as mentors, as well as youth interested in becoming mentees. As part of that Call to Action, Mayor Rawlings-Blake hosted “Women Leading Baltimore,” which paired 25 high school girls with women in leadership positions for a day of training.  Mayor Rawlings-Blake said about the power of mentoring, “We should all remember as mentors that we can speak light and courage and hope and dreams into our young women, even when we don’t think they’re paying attention.”

Boston, MA, Mayor Martin J. Walsh

Mayor Martin “Marty” J. Walsh has made youth mentoring an integral part of his platform in Boston, developing the “Mayors Mentoring Movement” with affiliate Mentoring Partnership Mass Mentoring as a key partner. He has publicly talked about his commitment to mentoring at various My Brother’s Keeper events locally and nationally, holding a press conference to officially launch the integration of the initiative in Boston. He has continued to leverage social media channels to encourage civic engagement and mentoring, co-authored an op-ed on the importance of mentoring during National Mentoring Month 2015 and has been vocal about the importance of funding mentoring programs. Mayor Walsh can be quoted as saying, “We can make a difference and take extra steps to ensure that every young person has a caring adult in their lives. Boston youth are full of potential, and deserve successful outcomes. I have experienced first-hand the power a mentor can have, and I want to make sure each of our Boston youth can take advantage of this opportunity.”

 

Holyoke, MA, Mayor Alex Morse

Mayor Alex Morse is one of Mass Mentoring Partnership’s Mayors for Mentoring, a campaign that engages mayors throughout Massachusetts in raising awareness of the need for more mentors; recognizing local mentoring programs and their participants; and encouraging ways for individuals and communities to get involved in mentoring. At the Holyoke Health Center, Morse proclaimed January as National Mentoring Month and talked about how mentoring has affected his life, as well as its importance to the city. “Mentoring programs are a proven and powerful community strategy that impacts the wide variety of critical social issues facing the young people of the City of Holyoke,” he said. “Whether they are faced with academic challenges, the risk of teen pregnancy, or violence and bullying, students who are invested in a high-quality mentoring relationship are not only likely to experience an increase both in self-esteem and a hope for the future, but they are provided with the skills they need to rise above the pressures of adolescence that so many of our young people face on a regular basis.”

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Kansas City, MO, Mayor Sly James

Mayor Sly James is committed to ensuring every child receives a high-quality education regardless of where they live or their socio-economic background.  Mayor James has supported several initiatives designed to ensure the success of Kansas City’s young people, including the Women’s Empowerment (WE) Initiative, a program designed to support careers of women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, and the national Million Women Mentors initiative, which aims to find mentors for girls and young women interested in STEM careers.

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Hildreth, NE, Mayor Roger Boyer

Mayor Roger Boyer, of Hildreth, Nebraska, is a life-long educator and public servant whose commitment to mentoring led to the founding of two TeamMates Mentoring Program chapters, providing hundreds of students with the support and encouragement of a mentor. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Wilcox-Hildreth chapter of TeamMates and has two mentees with whom he meets every week. For his efforts, Mayor Boyer was recognized at the Midland Mentoring Partnership’s 2015 Mentoring Awareness Luncheon. Based on his years of experience as a mentor, Roger says, “I truly understand the power of mentoring and want to have it available to as many of our students as possible.” Mayor Boyer encourages organizations in the area to support the local TeamMates chapter financially and issued a proclamation in November 2015 to affirm the city’s support for mentoring and to raise awareness of the need for mentors in the community. As mayor, Roger continues to advocate for the expansion of mentoring opportunities because, “mentoring is a key component in helping students be successful and is a powerful investment in their future.”

South Sioux City, NE, Mayor Rod Koch

Mayor Rod Koch has mentored through the TeamMates Mentoring Program over the past five years and has been a vocal advocate for the program since becoming mayor of South Sioux City, Nebraska in 2014. He loves the opportunity TeamMates has given him to walk the hallways of local schools with his mentee, who graduated from high school in the spring of 2015. Of his experience, Rod says, “I was able to watch the transformation of a shy young man with lots of questions as he turned into a confident student with aspirations of going to college.” When speaking publicly, Mayor Koch frequently ties the impact mentoring programs like TeamMates have had on South Sioux City’s school district and encourages others to give their time to make a difference in the life of a young person. “I believe that our match was a success and a win for the community because of the things we were able to teach each other about our cultures and our families. The guidance and attention of an adult to our young people is vital to the success of the student and to the future of the community.”

Omaha, NE, Mayor Jean Stothert

Mayor Jean Stothert has been a supporter of mentoring as the mayor of Omaha, Nebraska—Midlands Mentoring Partnership’s home location, since elected in 2013. Mayor Stothert continuously encourages her city employees to become mentors and participates yearly in MMP’s January press conference to celebrate National Mentoring Month. In her role as mayor, she continues to demonstrate her support for mentoring in all of the activities that she participates in city-wide. Mayor Stothert has said “We have such a giving community in Omaha—like no other. We have a very caring, compassionate community. The community sees the economic benefits of mentoring and they see the benefits for our community. Most importantly, mentoring makes the mentor feel good. People that mentor, when they come back to work, feel revitalized, they feel happy about it, and they know they’ve made a big difference in someone’s life”.

Holdrege, NE, Mayor Doug Young

Doug Young, mayor of Holdrege, Nebraska, is a true believer and supporter mentoring in Nebraska. Mayor Young has been an active volunteer mentor for four years and currently has two mentees. Not only is serving his community by serving as a mentor, but has provided leadership on the local TeamMates Mentoring Partnership Advisory Board for three years. He is active in TeamMates and is involved in various other organizations focused on youth. He connects with youth through community organizations Kiwanas, Awanas, and helps with the Nebraska State Wrestling tournament. In January, 2015 , Mayor Young submitted a mayoral proclamation in support of National Mentoring Month. Something Mayor Young has said to his mentee is, “You have to believe in yourself before others believe in you!”

New York, NY, Mayor Bill de Blasio

In support of New York City schools, Mayor de Blasio created The Community Schools initiative, a resource supporting youth and their families to help them achieve their best selves. As a part of this initiative, youth are matched with AmeriCorps mentors who serve as role models and provide guidance throughout their school experience. A main focus of the mentoring component is improving chronic absenteeism and promoting increased school engagement. 128 schools and counting are affiliated with the initiative, with over 2500 youth ultimately experiencing the benefits of a mentoring relationship. In 2015, Mayor de Blasio has made several calls to action to citizens and businesses in New York City, asking them to help strengthen the local community by investing in mentoring. Sharing his belief in the power of mentoring in a recent statement Mayor de Blasio can be quoted as saying, “A few hours a week to impact one life — one life to change countless others. And you have the power and the opportunity to make that difference.”

Charlotte, NC, Mayor Jennifer Roberts

Mayor Jennifer Roberts has actively supported local children and youth initiatives by engaging with community organizations working to improve outcomes for Charlotte’s young people.  She has supported the Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance, a coalition of 50 existing mentoring organizations that work together with a primary focus on providing positive role models for young people in areas ranging from academic assistance to leadership development, and recently accepted the challenge to become a My Brother’s Keeper Community (MBKC) to provide additional support to young people from communities of the highest need.

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Tulsa, OK, Mayor Dewey Bartlett

Mayor Dewey Bartlett’s Mayor’s Mentoring Breakfast during National Mentoring Month was not only a celebration, but also a call to increase the number of mentors who volunteer in one-to-one and school-based settings. “Mentoring is not just a one-day-a-week effort, it’s a long-term commitment,” Bartlett said in his remarks. Panelists at the breakfast who attested to the positive outcomes of mentoring represented organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma, the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce (Partners in Education), the YMCA and Capital One. The mayor’s wife, Victoria, has spearheaded the “Mentoring to the Max” program for several years, and she recruits others to experience the joy of mentoring. “I have a vision for this city,” she said. “We have 10,131 children that live in poverty. I believe that we need to recruit every corporation, every faith-based group to go into our public schools, to allow their employees to go one hour a week to read to a child and stay with that child all the way through high school. We will be interrupting the cycle of poverty.”

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Pittsburgh, PA, Mayor William Peduto

Mayor William Peduto is a staunch advocate for mentoring in the City of Pittsburgh and beyond. His Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative (MMI) consists of three programs that aim to encourage City of Pittsburgh employees to get involved with mentoring youth in the community. The program includes paid time off for eligible employees to participate in local mentoring programs. Mayor Peduto shows that making an impact through mentoring is one of the most powerful ways to provide our youth with an advantageous experience towards a better future.

Warwick, RI, Mayor Scott Avedisian

Mayor Scott Avedisian has been a long-time supporter of mentoring as the mayor of the RI Mentoring Partnership’s host city, and is also a staunch supporter of the Warwick Mentor Program operated by RIMP. He allows Warwick city employees to mentor, has advocated for funding for mentoring, and has been a key participant in numerous mentoring events and celebrations. During these events he always offers thanks to the mentors for their hard work in improving the community by helping its children. He validates their efforts by noting the evidence he sees throughout the city that mentoring works.

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Columbia, SC, Mayor Steve Benjamin

Mayor Steve Benjamin launched the Mayor’s Mentoring Network, a new mentor recruitment partnership between his office and mentoring organizations throughout the community, which can register with the network to receive volunteer referrals. In addition, Benjamin leveraged National Mentoring Month with his announcement of #MensChallenge, a new campaign to recruit more male mentors for Columbia’s young men. “We believe that Columbia has the potential to become the most talented, educated and entrepreneurial city in the America,” said Benjamin. “But in order make that vision a reality, we have to make a real and lasting investment in our children.”

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San Antonio, TX, Mayor Ivy R. Taylor

Mayor Ivy R. Taylor is committed to ensuring that every San Antonian is connected to opportunities for prosperity. One of the Mayor’s most important initiatives, My Brother’s Keeper San Antonio (MBKSA), seeks to change the life outcomes in our community by ensuring that all youth, regardless of what zip code they grow up in, have the same opportunities to succeed. Mentoring is a key component to accomplishing that task. One-on-one caring relationships with a responsible adult can make a tremendous difference in the lives of young men and boys. Through her work with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Mayor Taylor herself has been able to mentor a young girl from junior high into high school. Additionally, the Mayor launched the San Antonio Mentoring Collaborative to recruit 10,000 mentors from the city’s faith community to serve local students.

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser

Mayor Muriel Bowser has long supported efforts to advance achievement and opportunity and reduce racial disparities for boys and men of color across Washington, DC.  As part of her administration’s Empowering Males of Color initiative, Mayor Bowser recently partnered with DC Public Schools to launch the 500 for 500: Mentoring Through Literacy program, a program designed to engage 500 volunteers as mentors to 500 male students of color to help them build strong literacy skills, gain confidence, and discover a passion for reading.

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Legacy Initiatives

Brockton, MA, Mayor Linda Balzotti

Linda M. Balzotti served the city of Brockton, MA as mayor for four years as the city’s first female mayor until 2013. In 2012, the Mass Mentoring Partnership launched their own regional Mayors for Mentoring campaign with former mayor Balzotti as one of the first to participate. Throughout her tenure in office, she helped promote mentoring in the local community each January during National Mentoring Month. She attended Brockton’s 5th Annual Mentor Recruitment Rally and hosted a cable show, “Our City,” with representatives from Big Brothers Big Sisters as guests to promote the event. “Mentors have the unique opportunity to shape the futures of young men and women in communities across the Commonwealth,” Mayor Balzotti said. “They play a vital part in awakening the spark of potential that these youth might not always see in themselves.”

Minneapolis, MN, Mayor R.T. Rybak

In partnership with numerous community stakeholders, the city created a Blueprint for Action, which draws on a mix of increased law enforcement and public health strategies to address the root causes of violence and significantly reduce and prevent youth violence. Mentoring is front and center in the Blueprint’s goals to connect every youth with a trusted adult; intervene at the first sign that youth are at risk for violence; restore youth who have gone down the wrong path; and unlearn the culture of violence in the community.

Newark, NJ, Mayor Cory Booker

In partnership with former Mayor Cory Booker, the Newark Mentoring Movement (NMM) was officially launched in July of 2012. NMM strives to embed mentoring into the culture of the City of Newark. NMM plans to match 10,000 youth in healthy mentoring relationships by 2017 with the help of strong leaders in the city. Since the organization’s inception, NMM has held multiple mentor recruitment efforts at local colleges/universities, built advisory relationships with 17 local mentoring programs, and has developed various strategies to engage local corporations to adopt corporate mentoring models. Lastly, NMM has begun the initial recruitment stages of high-quality national mentoring providers that are not presently engaged in Newark. The Mayor’s leadership during his tenure helped set the stage for NMM to transform the community through effective mentoring relationships.

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New York, NY, Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg included youth mentoring in several citywide initiatives with training provided by the New York Mentoring Partnership. Launched in 2009, NYC Service aims to set higher standards in tackling the city’s most pressing challenges through volunteerism to strengthen communities; help neighbors in need; improve education; protect the environment; increase public health; and enhance emergency preparedness. Systemized and less expensive criminal background checks are part of this initiative. Bloomberg’s Young Men’s Initiative to reclaim the lives of New York’s young men of color includes Cornerstone programs that offer mentoring at sites in Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens. Finally, NYC Success Mentors, which has been highlighted at a variety of MENTOR events, is a research-based, data-driven mentoring model that seeks to improve attendance, behavior and educational outcomes for students at risk in low-income communities. This is now the largest public school-based mentoring effort in the country and has result in an increase in thousands of school days for New York City students.

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Indianapolis, IN, Mayor Greg Ballard

Mayor Greg Ballard is using his public platform to promote community-wide involvement in mentoring as part of a multi-prong strategy to address one of the highest homicide rates in Indianapolis in the past decade. To combat this startling increase in violence, Mayor Ballard is exploring the possibility of hiring more police officers and launching a youth summer employment program, in addition to working with community organizations to provide positive adult mentors for at-risk youth. “People often approach me to ask how they can help the city, and I always suggest that they mentor a child,” Ballard said. “One of the greatest things an adult can do to improve education, reduce crime and contribute to building a better city is help a young person in need and show them you care.

Lebanon, IN, Mayor Huck Lewis

Mayor Huck Lewis is promoting mentoring in Lebanon in an effort to increase academic achievement and reduce poverty in the community. The mayor’s office is collaborating with a local utility company, Witham Hospital, the local United Way and community foundation, faith-based organizations, several businesses and the Boys and Girls Club. The partners will implement a plan to provide mentors to low-income youth to provide them with extra support and connect them to opportunity. Mayor Lewis has said that mentoring strengthens his city’s economic development. “We’re developing the next leadership in the community, and we need a trainable workforce that will match up with any community in Indiana,” Lewis stated.

Hickman, NE, Mayor Doug Hanson

Doug Hanson, mayor of Hickman, Nebraska, has been involved with the TeamMates Mentoring Program for 14 years and strongly encourages others to get involved in mentoring, saying, “I believe it is important to recognize the value of mentoring for young people and of the benefits you receive for volunteering just a little of your time.” During his time in TeamMates, Mayor Hanson has mentored multiple young men through high school graduation. “My first mentee was the first male in his immediate family to graduate from high school. This accomplishment was very rewarding for him and I felt equally rewarded.” As mayor, Hanson provides city employees with flexible schedules so they can mentor during the work day and has issued a public statement in support of them doing so. Doug will continue to champion TeamMates in Nebraska and hopes to see more public institutions support mentoring. “I would encourage other mayors and elected officials to allow your staff to mentor through programs like TeamMates and to take part in such a rewarding experience yourself as well.”

Philadelphia, PA, Mayor Michael Nutter

Mayor Michael Nutter, as part of his education platform, established the Graduation Coaches Campaign within the Office of Education two years ago. The program pairs mentors with young people to coach them through high school and into college. MENTOR’s affiliate The Southeastern Pennsylvania United Way’s Campaign for Mentors provides funding and training. To date, more than 1,800 coaches have been trained to work with Philadelphia’s youth.

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NOMINATE YOUR MAYOR

Has your mayor shown incredible leadership in his or her efforts to expand quality youth mentoring in the local community? For example, promoted paid leave for employees who are volunteer mentors or participated in National Mentoring Month? Send MENTOR a short write up on why they deserve recognition through the Mayors for Mentoring Campaign for possible inclusion on our website. We thank all civic leaders who continue to leverage our efforts to close the mentoring gap and make sure every youth who needs and wants a mentor, has one.

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