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Amidst the Country’s Increased Awareness of Racial Disparities,

This Year’s Conference Focuses on Creating a Future of Racial Equity

and Finding Spaces of Joy for Youth

New York New York – March 24, 2021 – The mentoring movement is facing unprecedented challenges, during the changing landscape of a global pandemic and deepening divides rooted in racial inequity. MENTOR New York, a leader in the statewide Mentoring Movement, will convene New York’s youth development and mentoring professionals virtually for the 18th Annual Mentoring Matters Conference on Friday, April 16, 2021, to address increasing racial equity and creating spaces of joy for young people.

Conference attendees will gain new tools and techniques to learn, reflect, reassess, and redirect their work with young people in ways that ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion are the driving force. The conference is open to the public and is ideally suited for youth development professionals and mentors. Advanced purchase tickets can be purchased here.

“As we have seen in the past 10 months, it is no longer enough to state your organization’s commitment to increasing racial equity,” said Brenda Jimenez, CEO of MENTOR New York. “Now is the time for courageous action. We need to come together as a movement and take definitive and collective action creating anti-racist spaces. This is hard work that no one can do on their own, which is why MENTOR New York has partnered with Adelphi University, Niagara University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity, and Mission.”

“As a thought leader in the Mentoring Movement, Adelphi University knows the role mentoring can play in increasing equity through human connection, which is why its Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion oversees the University’s Mentoring Program, and is also why it will be a community partner co-host for the Mentoring Matters Conference,” said Chotsani Williams West, Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Adelphi. “This conference will address the dimensions of mentoring for diverse populations in educational spaces, a topic of great interest to mentoring leaders, school supervisors and those interested in starting mentoring programs or serving as mentors.”

Over 400 experts, organization leaders, and educators are expected to attend the conference virtually to engage in interactive workshops providing concrete skills and new knowledge that lead to direct action. Large-group sessions including the keynote and plenaries will tackle large-scale challenges from multiple perspectives and provoke new ways to think about the work that professionals are doing with young people.

The conference will include expert presenters and panelists immersed in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the mentoring movement, such as:

  • Dr. Nisha Sachdev, DrPh, PsyD, Senior Associate at the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools at the George Washington University

  • Chotsani Williams West, Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Adjunct Professor, College of Arts & Sciences / College of Education and Health Sciences, Adelphi University

  • Dr. Roland Ward, Associate Professor of Social Work at Niagara University and Endowed Faculty Director of the Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity, and Mission

  • Dr. Laura Quiros, Ph.D, LMSW, Author/Associate Professor/Trauma Informed DEI Consultant

  • Brooks Frederick, DEI facilitator, Adjunct Professor, Adelphi University

  • Dr. Sekai Turner, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Keuka College

  • Tommy McClam, Senior Director of Boys and Men of Color Initiative, Say Yes Buffalo

  • Daniel Robertson, Program Manager of Boys and Men of Color Initiative, Say Yes Buffalo

  • Marisa Hattab, Training and Partnership Development Manager, MENTOR Nebraska

  • Brenda Jimenez, CEO, MENTOR New York

  • Ivette Maza Cabrera, Student, Queens College, and Program Research Intern, MENTOR New York

  • Dr. Elizabeth Santiago, Founder, The Untold Narratives, and Senior Consultant, MENTOR National

  • Dr. Noreen Stewart, PH.D., Founder, Stewart Learning Inc. and Senior School Psychologist, Bay Ridge Prep, and Adjunct Professor of Applied Psychology, Steinhardt School, NYU

  • Olivia Larson, Executive Director, For Every Little Handprint

  • Jack Kavanaugh, Director of Training and Program Development, MENTOR New York

  • Javeon Mathews, Youth Activist

  • Jasiah Jackson, Patient Services Specialist, Planned Parenthood of Central and Western NY

“Niagara University is thrilled to partner with MENTOR New York. MENTOR New York works tirelessly to train adult partners who seek to build strong relationships with young people. This year, MENTOR New York's efforts have been needed more than ever,” said Dr. Roland Ward, Associate Professor of Social Work at Niagara University and Endowed Faculty Director of the Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity, and Mission. “Like Niagara University, MENTOR New York is working to dismantle racism and elevate the voices of BIPOC youth. When BIPOC youth have safe spaces to develop and grow capacity, mentors are engaging in life-changing work.”

MENTOR New York is at the center of the NY Mentoring Movement partnering with adults who want to make a difference in the lives of young people and elevate their voices. By providing them with cutting-edge tools and resources, MENTOR New York is fueling mentoring relationship and fostering mentoring cultures that will give our young people the confidence to take on tomorrow’s leadership roles or even develop their own.

“We want to thank our presenting sponsor PSEG Long Island who continues to stand by our side to take mentoring to the next level on Long Island and throughout NY,” continued Jimenez.

“At PSEG Long Island we encourage mentorship in many forms, because we know it’s the way our company’s next generation of leaders emerges,” said Andrea Elder-Howell, PSEG Long Island’s vice president of Legal and a board member of MENTOR New York. “On a grander scale, mentoring relationships are going to be crucial to so many young people struggling to grow again after a year of historic social unrest and COVID-19 isolation. It's more important than ever that they have someone who hears them and can give them guidance. PSEG Long Island is proud to support MENTOR New York and the Mentoring Matters Conference.”

For more information, and to register to attend the conference, visit the website at

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About MENTOR New York

For over 25 years, MENTOR New York has leveraged its expertise in relationship development and program management to advise and train its partners about how to start, manage and improve quality youth-facing programs. MENTOR New York’s mission is to fuel the quality and quantity of mentoring relationships for young people and close the mentoring gap in New York. Today, MENTOR NY conducts approximately 100 separate training seminars each year and trains approximately 1,500 new mentors annually. The organization creates approximately 75 new programs each year and supports approximately 850 existing programs serving more than 80,000 young people across New York State.

About PSEG Long Island

PSEG Long Island operates the Long Island Power Authority’s transmission and distribution system under a long-term contract. PSEG Long Island is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (PSEG) (NYSE:PEG), a publicly traded diversified energy company.

About Adelphi University

Adelphi University, New York, is dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative programs supporting academic and career success. Learn more at

About Niagara University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs

Niagara University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs is firmly committed to creating a diverse culture for our students. A culture that respects and embraces diversity and inclusion, regardless of your race, color, sexual orientation or gender. We aim to help students maximize their college experience and empower them to achieve success both academically and personally.

About the Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity, and Mission

The Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equality and Mission establishes critical interdependencies both on and off campus, working together with faculty and students across colleges and disciplines of study to leverage change in the academy and across sectors of education, business, government and the community. As such, the Center serves as a resource to the community on issues of racial equity.


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