NORWALK, Conn. -- Norwalk-based Human Services Council recently celebrated the Norwalk Mentor Program with a special evening at The Stepping Stones Museum.
Each January the program invites mentors, mentees and their family members to come together during National Mentoring Month, to thank them for being a part of the Norwalk Mentor Program and to spread awareness of the need to connect more young people with a caring adult.
Nancy Pratt, Director of the Norwalk Mentor Program, said: “This is an opportunity for our mentors and mentees to see each other outside of the school setting, and for the mentors to meet the family members of their mentee. Parents must give permission for their child to be involved in the program, so this is a thank you to them as well.”
The Norwalk Mentor program began 31 years ago, Pratt said, and is the first school-based mentoring program in the country. There are 240 mentor/mentee relationships, and they meet for one hour each week at school.
"They spend their time getting to know each other by playing board games, sports, reading together, doing arts & crafts, or just talking,'' Pratt said. "Sometimes the mentor may be the only supportive adult in a young person’s life. Mentoring relationships are basic human connections that let a young person know that they matter, and mentors frequently report back that their relationships make them feel like they are someone who matters in another person’s life.”
Human Services Council is seeking more mentors as well. “The number of students who would benefit from mentoring exceeds the number of available mentors,” said Anthony DiLauro, Executive Director of The Human Services Council. “We are actively recruiting new mentors, and strive to expand our donor base, so that more students may participate.”
DiLauro also introduced the program's new HEROES initiative, in which an individual or a company can sponsor a match. This allows involvement in the program without the weekly commitment. The sponsorship helps to support the program and enables it to grow, matching more students with adult mentors.
To learn how to become a mentor or a HEROES sponsor, visit www.hscct.org or contact Nancy Pratt at firstname.lastname@example.org.