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Mentoring Excellence Award

MENTOR New York proudly presents the Mentoring Excellence Award to programs in our network that demonstrate an exceptional commitment to quality mentorship. These initiatives have:

  • Completed an enhancement project to strengthen their programming for mentees and mentors.

  • Engaged in MENTOR New York's consulting, training, and support services.

All nominated programs have the chance to rally their community of mentors, mentees, and supporters to vote for them to win! The winning program will receive $500, well-deserved recognition, and be honored at the MENTOR of the Year Awards.

2024 Results


2024 Nominees

America Needs You

America Needs You fights for economic mobility for first-generation college students by providing one-on-one mentorship and intensive career development. The organization has physical sites in New York, New Jersey, and Illinois—in addition to FirstGenU, their virtual program that operates nationally. Their award-winning curriculum covers a wide range of topics crucial for career success, from emotional intelligence and personal branding to interviewing skills, post-college life, and financial literacy. The results speak for themselves, with an impressive 96% graduation rate within 6 years of college enrollment and 82% of students securing employment or enrolling in graduate school within six months of graduation. America Needs You collaborated with MENTOR New York on a technical assistance project facilitated by the National Mentoring Resource Center.

Apex for Youth

Apex for Youth empowers Asian American youth from low-income and immigrant backgrounds to unlock their potential and a world of possibility by cultivating positive self-identity and transformative relationships with adults and their communities. Through activities that nurture their interests, supportive services that respond to their needs, and development of their inner strengths, youth develop a vision for their future and the resources and networks to support them in achieving their goals. Apex’s comprehensive programs include athletics, elementary enrichment, mentoring, mental health support, and college and career success initiatives. Their team actively engages with MENTOR New York through campaigns, webinars, and conferences, further enhancing their program’s impact.

Baldwin Schools Mentoring Program

In the Baldwin School District, the Baldwin High School Mentoring Program exemplifies the impact of quality mentorship—positively shaping students' lives for over two decades. Driven by committed volunteers, including teachers, administrators, and staff, the program pairs trained mentors with students seeking positive adult role models. Through this mentorship, mentees receive essential encouragement and guidance for fostering both personal and academic growth. Baldwin's collaboration with MENTOR New York has further strengthened their initiative, ensuring comprehensive mentor training and program evolution, including the introduction of the Peer2Peer mentoring program.


BioBus is dedicated to helping K-12 and college students explore and pursue science, particularly those excluded due to factors like race, gender, and economic status. Their vision is a world where everyone can reach their scientific potential. Since 2008, BioBus has impacted 350,000 students across 900+ schools and organizations, fostering connections with scientists, teaching research skills, and promoting science communication. BioBus collaborated with MENTOR New York on a technical assistance project through the National Mentoring Resource Center, tapping into their expertise in crafting staff training. The trainings covered essential topics such as cultural humility, amplifying youth voices, crisis impact and trauma response, and establishing healthy boundaries.

Center for Supportive Schools

Established in 1979, the Center for Supportive Schools (CSS) has a rich history of positively impacting students and driving cultural shifts within educational institutions. With over four decades of experience, CSS stands out nationally for its focus on social and emotional learning, demonstrating significant academic impact on students, educators, and school environments. The vision at CSS is one where all children thrive in schools that prepare them comprehensively for college, meaningful careers, active citizenship, and personal fulfillment. CSS partners with schools across the nation, including in New York, offering innovative programs such as Peer Group Connection-High School (PGC-HS) and Achievement Mentoring. PGC-HS, a proven program since 1979, supports successful transitions from middle to high school through a year-long leadership course and peer-led outreach sessions. Achievement Mentoring, spanning grades 4 to 11, matches students with caring adults to promote high school completion by fostering positive habits, problem-solving skills, and a sense of connection to school, ensuring students are well-equipped for future success.

Compeer of Greater Buffalo

Compeer of Greater Buffalo is dedicated to championing mental well-being and fostering meaningful connections through one-on-one friendships. They pair trained volunteers with individuals seeking improved mental health, offering diverse mentoring programs like community meetups, school initiatives, and peer support groups. The organization has a longstanding partnership with MENTOR New York, maintaining accreditation through the National Quality Mentoring System (NQMS) and utilizing the Mentoring Connector for volunteer opportunities. They've also collaborated on effective campaigns—such as a recent mentor recruitment effort with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie, Niagara, and the Southern Tier—enhancing their impact in promoting mental well-being across the region.

Compeer Rochester

Compeer Rochester is committed to providing healing friendships for community members facing mental health challenges and combatting the stigma associated with such conditions. Compeer Rochester's volunteer team plays a crucial role in their programs. Volunteers are carefully recruited, screened, and trained to become caring and compassionate mentors to individuals in need. These volunteers offer companionship, emotional support, and encouragement, helping their mentees build confidence, develop social skills, and engage more fully in their communities. Amidst the pandemic, as reaching out to volunteers became a challenge, they teamed up with MENTOR New York to review their practices, policies, and procedures—identifying gaps and areas for improvement to enhance their volunteer outreach. With this effort, Compeer Rochester streamlined their volunteer onboarding process, cutting the time in half, and devised creative ways to support volunteers.

Connections Mentor, Inc.

Connections Mentor is dedicated to creating lasting mentoring relationships that boost self-worth for young people in NYC and Westchester County's child welfare or juvenile justice systems. The organization excels in recruiting, screening, training, and supporting adult volunteers to become positive influences in mentees' lives. Matches are based on shared interests, strengths, and time commitments, supported for at least a year by Connections staff. What makes Connections unique is their commitment beyond a year, fostering lasting relationships that often continue even after formal closure celebrations. Their partnership with MENTOR New York is invaluable, collaborating on grants, launching initiatives like the Youth Leadership Council, and sharing expertise through workshops and presentations.

EAC Network: Chance to Advance

The Chance to Advance Program was created in 2004. The program pairs trained mentors with youth aged 8-21, offering guidance in connecting with enrichment programs, college and vocational coaching, and fostering independent living skills and self-esteem. A primary objective is to provide direction and support for at-risk youth, including youth involved in the foster care system, so they can enjoy a successful transition into adulthood and better outcomes as independent adults. Through MENTOR New York's training and grants, the EAC team has developed and implemented three impactful mentoring programs. One memorable experience was receiving grant support to organize a National Mentor Month mixer in 2018, creating meaningful connections between volunteers and mentees.

Epic Zone Youth Clubhouse

EPIC Zone is a haven for youth aged 12-17, centering on tailored relationships and youth-driven activities. Grounded in developmental relationships and 40 developmental assets frameworks, EPIC Zone empowers members to voice their needs and interests, fostering growth and resilience. Operating as a drop-in center, EPIC Zone offers a consistent safe space for youth to explore various programs and engage in meaningful interactions. Their team values every member's uniqueness, working to understand their strengths and challenges to provide targeted support. MENTOR New York has trained EPIC Zone staff and offered resources to enhance their mentoring practices. MENTOR New York has trained EPIC Zone staff and provided resources to enhance their mentoring practices. This partnership strengthens their team’s ability to help youth navigate challenges, build life skills, and contribute positively to their communities.

Freedom Scholars Learning Center

Freedom Scholars Learning Center (FSLC) is dedicated to creating a transformative learning environment for children, youth, and families within their communities. Their focus is on recognizing collective strengths, honoring cultures, and inspiring capacities to make a positive impact on neighborhoods and futures. At FSLC, they collaborate with communities under systemic pressures to enhance academic, social, cultural, economic, and environmental literacies. The program aims to challenge societal oppression, support pathways to success in school and life, and foster resistance and change. FSLC partnered with MENTOR New York to train their summer and after-school program staff on relationship building and mentoring.

Girls Mentor Girls, Inc.

Girls Mentor Girls, Inc. is a Bronx-based nonprofit founded by Michelle Jervis-White, committed to empowering female-identifying BIPOC youth through peer mentoring and building sisterhood. The program provides a safe and non-judgmental space for young women to develop social skills, self-awareness, and commitment while fostering respect and validation among peers. Girls Mentor Girl hosts regular meetings, events, and offers resources to nurture and support their community members. Activities range from guided discussions and communal events to exposure to sisterhood, healthy lifestyles, financial literacy, and academic opportunities. As a longstanding partner of MENTOR New York, the program has benefited from technical assistance through the National Mentoring Resource Center, reflecting their commitment to quality mentoring and support for the youth they serve.

NYC Public Schools’ Success Mentors and Attendance Improvement

NYC Public Schools’ Success Mentors (NYCPS) is dedicated to empowering students for a bright future, ensuring every day counts in their journey to success. Through the "Every Student, Every Day" initiative, NYCPS tackles absenteeism head-on with key strategies: • Creating clear and engaging school systems. • Building strong attendance teams. •Personalizing student support, including effective success mentoring. • Collaborating with vibrant communities for maximum impact. The Success Mentor Corps, launched in 2014, has reduced absence rates by up to 13 days for some students. In 2021, NYCPS partnered with MENTOR New York to enhance mentoring programs citywide. Additionally, NYCPS has successfully piloted mentoring programs in DHS shelters, making a real difference for students facing challenges. These efforts reflect their team's unwavering commitment to equipping every student with the tools and support needed for academic achievement and lifelong success.

Princess Chambers, Inc.

Princess Chambers, Inc. is committed to building the confidence and self-esteem of girls and young women in high school as they transition to adulthood. Their mission focuses on empowering culturally diverse groups from underserved communities through providing resources and programs that promote confidence, leadership, wellness, skill development, and post-secondary success. Princess Chambers teamed up with MENTOR New York to fortify and enrich its mentoring program, providing vital support to young women during this pivotal life stage. By tapping into industry expertise, valuable impact metrics, and best practices, they are ensuring a sustainable and impactful program that empowers these future leaders.

Riley's Way Foundation

Riley’s Way is committed to nurturing the future generation of compassionate leaders. The organization offers a range of programs, leadership training, coaching, and a supportive community to empower young people to create a world centered on kindness, empathy, and connection. Riley’s Way engaged in technical assistance with MENTOR New York through the National Mentoring Resource Center. This collaboration provided invaluable support and resources to further their mission of cultivating empathetic leadership.

Rise Up Rochester

Rise Up Rochester, Incorporated (RUR) works to combat violence and support crime victims and their families. Through mediation, mentorship for high-risk individuals, support groups for families affected by homicide, and wrap-around services, RUR aims to interrupt cycles of violence and provide holistic support to communities impacted by crime. RUR can be found in schools, on the streets, and at other community events to communicate, “It doesn’t have to end this way!” RUR is renowned for its community events that empower local youth and provide essential resources to those in need. Their team worked hand in hand with MENTOR New York on a project aimed at refining their intake/exit processes, documentation practices, and record-keeping systems. This collaboration underscores RUR's dedication to enhancing their services and making a greater impact on the community.

Solar One

Solar One is at the forefront of promoting sustainable practices and environmental equity across New York City. Through innovative programs in K-12 environmental education, green workforce training, solar installation technical assistance, and eco-park stewardship, Solar One is catalyzing new ways of living and working in response to climate change. A key focus for Solar One is bringing communities most affected by environmental injustice to the forefront of the clean energy economy. Their efforts aim to transform the way people think about energy, the urban environment, and resilience. With support from MENTOR New York, Solar One established a youth advisory council to elevate youth voices in environmental initiatives, furthering their mission of empowering young people and promoting sustainable practices.

Student Sponsor Partners

Student Sponsor Partners (SSP) is a New York City nonprofit dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty through quality high school education and mentorship. For over 37 years, SSP has provided equal opportunities and access to more than 1,000 students annually across the city's five boroughs. Their comprehensive approach includes high school scholarships, one-on-one mentorships, college and career programs, and holistic support services. SSP's impact is evident in their students' success rates—SSP students are twice as likely to graduate high school and four times as likely to graduate from college compared to their demographic peers. They also excel in their careers, give back to their communities, and often return as mentors and sponsors within SSP. SSP has had a long partnership with MENTOR New York, raising awareness about the impact of mentorship and gaining support and guidance from their team to further enhance their mentorship program, including revamping their mentor recruitment strategy and implementation efforts.

Sunnyside Community Services at Queens Technical High School

Sunnyside Community Services (SCS) is a Queens-based nonprofit that has been enriching lives and strengthening communities since 1974. With a diverse range of programs, from early education to senior services and Alzheimer's support, SCS serves over 16,000 individuals of varied backgrounds. Central to its mission is the belief that every person deserves meaningful support to achieve their aspirations, especially struggling families and individuals. At Queens Technical High School, SCS has implemented a community school strategy, working closely with students, parents, staff, and partners to provide comprehensive services tailored to the school community's needs. This includes our growing mentorship program designed to help students identify and build upon their strengths while navigating obstacles to their education. MENTOR New York has played an instrumental role in enhancing and improving SCS's mentoring program at Queens Tech, offering one-on-one consultation, professional development, resource sharing, and evaluation tools.

Weber Middle School: College Pioneers Mentoring Program

During the 2022-2023 academic year, Carrie P. Weber Middle School implemented the College Pioneers Mentoring Program, a specialized initiative tailored for first-generation students attending and graduating college. Recognizing the unique challenges and opportunities these students face, the program aims to provide comprehensive guidance and support to help students navigate their college journey successfully. College Pioneers partnered with MENTOR New York for mentor training, activities, and resources, to ensure these students receive research-based support.

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