City launches mentorship initiative to help students of color navigate academic challenges during COVID-19

Bill de Blasio Mets Steve Cohen
Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday the launch of a new Mentors Matter Initiative aimed at helping students of color, particularly young boys, manage academic challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Through Mentors Matter, 750 Black and Brown boys will be assigned mentors who will work as academic tutors. Mentors will also be in charge of helping their mentees handle the social changes of school during the COVID-19 pandemic and offer guidance on how to handle these changes.

The program is an expansion of the nonprofit One Hundred Black Men and the Young Men’s Initiative Junior 100 program which, along with mentorship and enrichment programs, exposes participating students to career opportunities and offers college scholarships. 

“During this crisis, we know that many Black and brown boys struggle with school and have the highest dropout rates in education and rates of educational disengagement,” said Jordan Stockdale, executive director for the Young Men’s Initiative, a public-private partnership launched by the Bloomberg administration to combat inequity between Black and Latino men. ” We know that mentoring and particularly mentoring from adults who look like us can provide a transformative experience to propels us to our potential.”

The Young Men’s Initiative is also working to expand the CUNY Tutor Corp in order to offer mentoring and tutoring to 3,600 additional public school students. CUNY students within the NYC Men Teach pipeline will be given priority for the paid tutoring opportunity. All of these tutors are men of color. 

In addition, the Young Men’s Initiative will award $500,000 in grants to local community-based organizations that offer tutoring, mentoring and social emotional support to a least 4,000 students during the pandemic. Organizations can apply for funding on Sept. 21 until Oct. 5.

To learn more, visit NYC.gov/YMI