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NYS Mentoring Program

NYS Mentoring Program

Founded by Former First Lady Matilda Cuomo in 1984, the mentoring program seeks to create mentor/mentee relationships for children in schools, foster care, and the court system.

Mentors are positive role models who guide youth with respect, structure, and compassion to build positive life skills. 

The NYS Mentoring Program was included in the FY2016 State Budget and began to grow each year until the impact of COVID-19 on schools which resulted in the number of programs being reduced by 50 percent. The programs that continued adapted to virtual applications for implementation. 

In fall 2021, Governor Hochul announced a new Latina Mentoring Program Cohort to be launched in early 2022 in regions throughout the state. Moreover, the Program has seen a significant uptick in interest and commitment, doubling the number of programs and mentors, bringing the program back to pre-pandemic results.

The NYS Mentoring Program leverages the resources of communities, schools, and businesses to match youth with screened and trained volunteer mentors. Currently, there is one Program Director and eight program staff located in regions throughout the state training and supporting dedicated adults and high-achieving high school students who are matched with students in the school-based program and youth involved in the court system.

mentoring program map

Interested in becoming a mentor?

When you join the NYS Mentoring Program, you are helping to make a real difference in a young person's life! The process to become a mentor is simple. Click here to apply.

Program Brochures


Mail Option

If you prefer to mail your Mentoring application,
please complete and print this PDF application and send it to:

Council on Children and Families
52 Washington Street, Suite 99 West
Rensselaer, NY 12144


Call 1-518-473-3652
e-mail the NYS Mentoring Program


Frequently Asked Questions

How can I learn about the NYS Mentoring Program?

Visit the NYS Mentoring Program Website to learn more about the program. You may also contact the mentoring staff person for your county. Use the mentoring regional map to locate your county mentoring coordinator to learn about mentoring in your area.

What are the benefits of having a mentor?

A “Public Private Ventures” study shows:

  • Mentees are 46% less likely to start using illegal drugs than their peers.
  • Mentees are 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school and 37% less likely to skip class.
  • Mentees are more trusting of their parents or guardians, are less likely to lie to them, and feel more supported and less criticized by peers.

What does Mentoring Entail: 

  • Encouraging young people to stay in school, improve attendance, academic achievement, and overall academic focus.
  • Inspiring students to make sound decisions and take on higher levels of personal responsibility for their actions at home, in the classroom, and in the greater community.
  • Helping to instill self-confidence in young people and improve their communication and problem-solving skills.
  • Helping students grow, and attain a greater sense of purpose, enterprise, and accomplishment, guiding them toward a brighter future.


Our Partners

Partners of the NYS Mentoring Program include Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC), the Mentoring Advisory Council, and the wide array of community partners that help promote the NYS Mentoring Program.

NYS Mentoring Program Advisory Council

Honorable Matilda Raffa Cuomo
New York State Mentoring Program Founder and Chair Emeritus
Former First Lady of New York State

Mitchell J. Auslander
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Judith Beville
Former Regional Director - NYS Mentoring Program
Town Official, Town of Greenburgh, Westchester County

BJ Carter
Healthy Directions, National Program Director, Healthy Children Healthy Futures

Don Distasio
Retired CEO of American Cancer Society Eastern Division
Baldwinsville Rotary Club President
NYS Cancer Prevention Council - Board member
NYS Health Research Board Member
YMCA - Board Member

Susan Murante 
Media Consultant

Terry Paladini-Baumgarten
Economist - International Consultant and Bank Advisor
Former International Banker and Professor
International Relations Chair to Lions Clubs International – DR2
Founder and former President of the NY Financial District Lions Club

Jim Quail
Retired NYC Public Schools Superintendent
Educational Consultant

Pat Reilly
Former Deputy Commissioner, NYC Department of Motor Vehicles (retired)

Kim Walker, Esq.
Partner, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP




If you have questions about the NYS Mentoring Program, please contact:

Phone: 518-473-3652

E-mail: NYS Mentoring Program


NYS Mentoring Program Resources