Amidst country’s increased awareness of racial disparities, this year’s conference focuses on creating a future of racial equity & finding spaces of joy for youth
3 Niagara Region organizations participating to support local youth
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, to address increasing racial equity and creating spaces of joy for young people.
A press release stated, In Niagara, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie Niagara and the Southern Tier, F-BITES and Niagara University 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. Others looking to participate can purchase tickets 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 antiracist 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, Dr.Ph., Psy.D., president, Premnas Partners
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
Ashely Watson, marriage & family therapist, founder of #RealTalk
Dr. Sekia Turner, assistant professor of social work
Tommy McClam, senior director 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
“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,” Ward said. “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,” Jimenez said.
“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 https://www.mentornewyork.org/mentoring-matters-conference.
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.