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THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen
THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen
(Left to right) Bruce Baron; Dennis W. Quirk, President, NYS Court Officers Association; Matilda Raffa Cuomo, founder and chair of Mentoring USA; and Scott Baron.

Matilda Raffa Cuomo said she wants her book, “The Person Who Changed My Life,” to help those who may feel down on their luck, so they know they are not alone.

The mother of Governor Andrew Cuomo and wife of former governor Mario Cuomo appeared at the office of Scott Baron & Associates, P.C. in Howard Beach on Thursday, May 31 to sign copies of her book, which is in its third edition. This updated version features stories from Dr. Mehmet Oz and former President Bill Clinton — among several others. All proceeds from book sales will go to Mentoring USA, the program Cuomo founded and chairs.

“It’s a handy device to have for people who are down on themselves or feeling neglect or rejection,” Cuomo said of her book’s goal. “It’s unbelievable how a mentor can pick you up and give you the self-confidence and the sense of well-being that you never thought you had.”

Cuomo, a teacher by profession, began Mentoring USA in 1995 to guide children lacking a positive figure in their lives. Born from an initiative when Cuomo was New York State’s first lady, the original program was statewide and school-based; after Mario Cuomo lost the 1994 election, her son Andrew urged her to revive the program and take it nationwide. In 1999, her daughter Madeline suggested she compile a book of people’s stories and how a mentor guided each to success.

Cuomo said she brought a philosophy from teaching with her into the program. Her three pillars for success for a child are: the home, the school and the community. All of these, she said, must stay strong in order for a child to succeed.

“It’s an honor to have the current first mom and former first lady of New York State here today,” said Baron. “Her message of mentoring is very appropriate as an example of being a fine American.”

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