By Jenyce Moses Aondona 518 ElevatED Alumna and Board Member

As a 2001 graduate of Albany High School, and an alumna of 518 ElevatED, I can attest first-hand that mentoring can provide life-changing connections that influence students’ lives at home, work, and in their communities.

Mentoring is linked to improved academic, social, and economic prospects, according to the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs. And for mentors, the relationship can build leadership and management skills, and provide an empowering opportunity to give back to the community. By matching adults who are passionate and caring, with students who are striving to reach their goals, we can help support the next generation of leaders and change-makers in the Capital Region.

At 518 ElevatED, every student selected into the program in 10th grade in Albany, Schenectady, and Troy high schools is paired with an adult mentor based on shared interests and experiences. While meeting 2-4 hours a month, mentors and students build a bond based on mutual trust and understanding. The relationship opens the door to new opportunities, networks, and cultures while offering additional perspectives, support, and guidance to the student.

I remember meeting my mentor as a young high schooler. I needed direction and encouragement. Someone to listen and provide a perspective that I wasn’t getting otherwise. We visited some college campuses I was interested in and other fun activities. It provided an opportunity to talk with someone other than family and friends, who I could trust and lean on for advice and guidance.

We keep in touch to this day.

Now, as I give back to the community through my Board service with 518 ElevatED, I hope that every student has the opportunity to meet a caring mentor as I did. A mentor who has the desire to connect with and guide them as they make their way through high school and look towards their future.

There is a need for mentors in the Capital Region. Help our students and support the next generation of leaders. Email or visit our mentor page to learn more.