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Letter: Norwalk Mentor Program Helping City's Youths

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NORWALK, Conn. -- The Norwalk Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Send letters to norwalk@dailyvoice.com.

To the Editor:

The Norwalk mentor program serves Norwalk Public School students in all grades. We currently have more than 200 matches throughout Norwalk's 19 public schools.

By matching caring adults to students in our schools, our mentors help young people feel good about themselves and their lives. They learn to take responsibility for their decisions and actions.

Many students are labeled "at-risk". This may include being at risk of educational failure, dropping out of school, or involvement in criminal or delinquent activities as they get older. One reason may be that many young people have NEVER had someone who believes in them.

Research shows mentoring relationships improve personal and academic outcomes. According to the Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring at UMass Boston, "when adults take time to talk with young people about their sparks the talents, interests, and goals that students are passionate about it dramatically strengthens relationships and can have tremendous motivational impact."

Having just completed its 29th year, the Norwalk mentor program wants to thank the dedicated volunteers and supportive funders that make our program so successful.

Thank you to:

•Our mentors, who spend one hour a week to guide, support, and simply be friends with a young person in one of the Norwalk Public Schools.

• The City of Norwalk, the Board of Education and the school staff for their support.

• Our mentees and their families.

• Our funders for this year Daphne Seybolt Culpeper Foundation, First County Bank Foundation, First Niagara Foundation, GE Capital, Norwalk Education Foundation, Norwalk PAL , People's United Community Foundation, TD Bank Foundation, Trinity Fund, United Bank, United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, and Xerox Foundation Other supporters Diageo North America, EC Scott Group, FactSet, Fairfield County Bank, Gordon Foundation, Iridian Asset Management LLC, Kohl's Cares, Louis Dreyfus, PDC International, Sequel International, Spinnaker Real Estate, Stew Leonard's, The Awesome Foundation and True North Team Building, LLC. and a number of individuals

We welcome new volunteers to the program. For information, contact Nancy Pratt at npratt@hscct.org or 203-849-1111 ext. 3042.

Nancy Pratt, director Norwalk mentor program

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