By Mark Hallum
Mayor Bill de Blasio launched the NYC Youth Initiative to expand opportunities for high school students to receive guidance across the city Jan. 12 and earned the approval of Queens elected officials.
The initiative plans to establish 400 new mentoring programs in high schools by 2022 with a ratio of 14,000 volunteer mentors to about 40,000 students, the mayor’s office said.
The city’s Equity and Excellence plan to achieve an 80 percent graduation rate among high school students and a college-readiness rate of two-thirds by 2026 is expected to benefit from the NYC Youth Mentoring Initiative.
“New Yorkers know our greatest strength is our people, so we must work together to invest in our future,” de Blasio said. “The NYC Youth Mentoring Initiative is about reaching more high school youth across the city with positive mentoring relationships that can shape the path to their future and ours. I want to thank the many committed partners involved in this multi-sector collaboration, as well as the thousands of New Yorkers who already mentor young people in our city.”
Queens elected officials weighed in on the program voicing their support.
“A good mentor can provide an opportunity for our youth to learn necessary life skills needed to succeed,” Hyndman said. “Positive and healthy relationships are essential in an adolescent’s development. The guidance mentors provide can be the difference in a young person’s life.”
City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) has taken a firm stance on working on behalf of youth as the chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Education and served for 25 years as a public school teacher before being elected in 2010.
“This new mentoring initiative means a brighter future for New York City high school youth,” Dromm said. “By connecting students with accomplished professionals, these programs will have a tremendous positive impact on these students’ grades and careers. I commend the mayor for putting our children on the pathway to success and will continue to work alongside the administration to support this important effort.”
Students at risk for falling off track are 37 percent less likely to skip class, 81 percent more likely to engage in extracurricular activities, 55 percent more likely to enroll in college and 130 percent more likely to hold leadership positions in the future.
The first step of the initiative was the “Good for Me, Good for My City” campaign, which enlisted the help of 20 New York City business such as Citi, Con Edison and American Express to engage employees as volunteers.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall