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By being a consistent adult presence in a young person’s life, mentors can offer advice, share their life experiences, and help a young person navigate challenges.


A study (The Role of Risk, 2013) showed that the strongest benefit from mentoring, and most consistent across risk groups, was a reduction in depressive symptoms — particularly noteworthy as almost one in four youth reported concerning levels of these symptoms at baseline. Mentoring has also been shown to promote positive social attitudes, improved relationships, and better communication with parents and adults.

Celebrating All Mentors

When you submit a story, recognition for the mentor is guaranteed. Mentoring stories are featured on MENTOR New York's social media, blog, or in email marketing and press pitches—with the mentor's organization prominently credited as a leading mentoring provider. Check out the blog for past inspiring stories.  

Why Nominate?

Mentors selected for a MENTOR of the Year award receive:

  • A $500 donation to their mentoring program

  • MENTOR Heart award

  • VIP access and a one-of-a-kind recognition experience for the mentor, mentee, their families, and mentoring program staff, at the in-person awards reception

  • A video highlighting the mentor and mentee

  • Personalized press release for their mentoring program to share with stakeholders

What people say about us

"We had no idea where to start. Now we know how to create a vision document with a mission statement, and we have made all the relevant decisions about what types of students we are going to serve, what we are going to aim to achieve, and how we are going to find mentors and mentees."

Mike Kentz, Achievement First Apollo Middle School

Your program support team

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Joie Golomb

Director of Programs & Partnership Development
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Specializations: • Strategic Planning & Nonprofit Sustainability • Curriculum Development & Social-Emotional Learning • Mentoring Program Design & Training • Recruitment Strategies & Family Engagement • Youth Voice Amplification • Creative Participatory Facilitation • Community Engagement & Collaboration • Process Improvement & Quality Assurance • Team Efficiency & Staff Development • Performance Measurement, Metrics & Project Management

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Erica Friedman-Coburn

Program Engagement Associate
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Specializations: • Mentoring Program Design and Management • Program Policy Development • Program Process Improvement • Mentor & Staff Training • Mentoring in Higher Education • Youth Voice Amplification


Naomi Rodriguez

Program Services Associate
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Specializations: • Mentoring Program Design and Management •.Program Policy Development • Mentor & Staff Training • Curriculum Development & Social-Emotional Learning • Performance Measurement, Metrics, & Project Management

Meet the Team

Speaker Bios

Alisa France-Hazle

As Founder and Principal Consultant/Coach of ELVYN TREE Coaching & Consulting, Alisa France-Hazle partners with BIPOC professionals and the organizations that need them, to maximize their capacity for leadership with social justice at its core.


Alisa is a space curator, maximizer, and creative idea generator. With over 10 years of non-profit experience, Alisa has worked in a coaching and counseling capacity—both internally and externally—around professional development, management, and anti-racism and anti-oppression. She has appeared at various speaking engagements and conferences discussing equity, inclusion, and social justice in nonprofit management, organizational leadership, and youth development. Alisa holds a Master of Arts in Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, with a minor in African American studies, from Howard University.

Tasha Grant

Tasha Grant (she/they) is a Black queer and non-binary social justice educator, applied theatre practitioner, youth and cultural worker hailing from Newark, New Jersey. With a wealth of experience in education, activism, youth development, and the arts, Tasha has served as a facilitator, devised theatre director, teaching artist, high school teacher, and college professor.

As the founding Artistic Director of Maroon Theatre Project, a New Jersey-based social justice theatre program, Tasha is deeply committed to fostering critical consciousness, activism, and healing in youth through the arts. Central to her mission is the uplifting of Black girls, queer, transgender, and gender-expansive youth of color, fostering inclusive environments for those who navigate intersecting layers of marginalization. Tasha redefines the boundaries of theatre-making and education, placing importance on the social-emotional growth of young people, granting them access to both social justice education and political empowerment.

An ardent advocate for equity and justice, Tasha actively challenges anti-Blackness and inequity entrenched within educational, non-profit, and cultural spheres. Beyond her work with Maroon Theatre Project, Tasha recently designed and taught a course called Equity, Justice, and Education in the United States at Drew University. She also serves as an editor for the American Alliance for Theatre & Education’s Youth Theatre Journal and is a member of Gamma Xi Phi, a professional fraternity for artists and creatives. Tasha holds a BA from Utica University in Psychology with a minor in Theatre and an MA in Educational Theatre for Colleges and Communities from New York University. 

Cecily Mitchell-Harper

Cecily is a NYS Licensed Social Worker with a passion and specialty for integrating research into practice, with a particular focus on developing transformative practices and processes to support programs that serve racially marginalized youth and families. She practices with an anti-oppressive, anti-racist, and decolonial lens.

Cecily received her BA in Psychology from Wesleyan University, and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice. As a seasoned Licensed Social Worker, Cecily has extensive experience practicing in various settings, including schools, human service organizations, and research centers. Cecily has clinical experience providing trauma-informed therapeutic services to children and families including those involved in the child-welfare system. Additionally, Cecily has several years of experience providing technical assistance and evaluation expertise to strengthen program capacity and inform programmatic decision-making in youth-serving non-profit organizations, utilizing an anti-oppressive, racial equity lens.

Cecily currently provides professional development training, coaching, and consultation services to youth-serving non-profit organizations. Her areas of expertise include creating healing-centered organizational practices and cultures to support holistic well-being, supporting direct service staff in their own healing from secondary/vicarious trauma, and utilizing a continuous improvement framework to support institutional change. Additionally, Cecily is an active member of the NYS Chapter of NASW, where she serves on the NASW, NYS Revolutionize Leadership Team and provides continuing education and professional development for NYS Social Workers. Furthermore, Cecily has presented at various professional conferences and events, is a Certified Field Instructor for graduate Social Work students, and has received invitations to teach within schools of Social Work including Adelphi University School of Social Work and Mercy University.

Janai Gilkes

Janai Gilkes is the director of the Foster Grandparents Program at the New York City Department for the Aging, where she oversees almost 200 senior citizen volunteers who receive a stipend from AmeriCorps to mentor and tutor children in a variety of educational settings, including public schools, Head Start programs, children’s hospitals, and family courts.

Janai says, “This program taps into the intergenerational need to drive changes and outcomes in the lives of both children and older adults by implementing practices and curricula for how volunteers engage with students—and together, the Foster Grandparent Program is fostering healthy and productive outcomes to bridge the intergenerational divide.”

Jessica Brady

As Associate Director of Partnerships and Community Learning at The Opportunity Network (OppNet), Jessica works alongside the Partnerships team to manage Career Fluency® best practices for OppNet’s partner organizations nationwide, focusing on building institutional capacity among frontline staff and leaders. Additionally, she has presented on OppNet's work as a speaker at numerous conferences, including the National Partnership for Education Access National Conference, National College Access Network National Conference, New York State Association for College Admission Counseling Annual Conference, College Access Consortium of New York convenings, and NYC's Department of Education College Access for All professional development sessions. She previously served as the Career Fluency® Programs Manager and the Communications Coordinator at OppNet. Jessica has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

Sandra Nanita

As Associate Director of Partnerships and Wellness, Sandra Nanita supports OppNet’s community and capacity-building Career Fluency® Partnerships program. In this role, Sandra drives educational equity and opportunity for students and communities by way of partnerships with schools and community-based organizations across the country to enhance their postsecondary and career readiness learning. Prior to OppNet, Sandra served as an Assistant Director of Programs at Cool Culture, an Evaluation Consultant for Net Impact NYC and a Youth Group Facilitator for Resilience Advocacy Project.

Rolanda L. Ward

Dr. Rolanda L. Ward has been an associate professor at Niagara University since 2015. In August 2017, she was named endowed faculty director of Niagara University’s Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity, and Mission. Dr. Ward earned her doctorate in social work and sociology, a master's in divinity, and a master's in social work from Boston University.

As a macro-trained practitioner and a research scholar, she has been the lead investigator or research associate on a number of studies focusing on society's most vulnerable, underserved, proven-risk, and oppressed populations and communities. In addition, Dr. Ward has led projects in communities and within organizations that shift status quo outcomes. These days, she is particularly interested in working with school districts and non-profits to produce measurable outcomes for key demographics. Dr. Ward is a strategic planner, relentless advocate, and community learner. She is a content expert in child welfare, equitable practices for educational systems, health equity, criminal justice, and civic engagement. 


Dr. Ward is also a member of the board of directors at MENTOR New York, The Aquarium of Niagara Falls, Community Missions, Inc., The Education Collaborative of WNY, and Catholic Health Systems. Dr. Ward co-led the university’s Identifying and Dismantling Racial Injustice Task Force and Niagara Falls Social Justice Commission Employment Subcommittee. As a teacher-scholar, Dr. Ward is committed to helping students and community members identify social injustices that warrant real solutions.

Altagracia Montilla

Altagracia Montilla was born and raised in the South Bronx, New York City. She credits her brilliant, vibrant, resilient, and spirited community for the power that she wields in the world. She is an unapologetically queer woman of color. Her life and her work have always been about being a challenger of status quos and oppressive systems. After spending over a decade helping mission-driven organizations better align with their values, Altagracia founded A.M. Consulting based on this truth:

“It is not the lack of ideas, talent, or resources that hinder organizational success, but rather the absence of brave cultures that encourage collaboration, creativity, and thriving team members.”

Altagracia is the founder and CEO of A.M. Consulting, where she supports mission-driven organizations to become the change that they want to see in the world. Altagracia’s firm is at the forefront of a movement toward better-connected workplaces that center humanity. She works with over 50 holistic practitioners to help organizations facilitate the important and nuanced conversations needed to fulfill their missions and achieve their goals. Altagracia is also the founder of Freedom Readers Book Club, the world's only virtual book club connecting individuals across the globe committed to social justice, creating a space for transformative community healing. Some of her community work includes sitting on the Board of the YWCA- Princeton and being the Board Chair of the NYC arts education organization, Spark House. Altagracia’s personal mission is to support others in unleashing the power within to create positive change.

Meet the Team


Brenda Jiménez

Chief Executive Officer

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Joie Golomb

Director of Programs & Partnership Development

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Subira Taylor

Director of Operations & Finance

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Hadleigh Kindberg

Director of Marketing & Advancement

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Cassy Lalanne

Projects & Special Events Manager

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Sam Cowles

Assoc. Director of Donor & Corporate Engagement

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Naomi Rodriguez

Program Services Associate

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Erica Friedman Coburn

Program Engagement Associate

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Siân Davies

Marketing & Communications Associate

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Harry St. Cloud II


Manassah Watkins

Program Support VISTA

Fulfilling Our Commitment

A core piece of this Racial Justice Framework is MENTOR New York's promise to evaluate its own systems and practices to create a more inclusive and equitable organization with DEI at the center. We are committed to elevating four action pillars within our work: 


How We Work

MENTOR New York's services reflect the knowledge that every organization is different. From budget to capacity, we're familiar with the challenges faced in starting and managing mentoring programs—so we develop actionable, achievable solutions to help you stay on track. Our consulting follows a clear process:


Tell us about your initiative, and we'll determine how we can support you based on your unique needs.


Next, we'll develop a customized action plan with desired outcomes, timeline, and responsibilities.


Our team offers ongoing guidance and resources, to help you implement your plan on schedule.


We'll check back in to discuss how the work went and your next steps for sustainable success.

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