Hope for New York partners with key organizations that serve the children and youth of our city. Here is a story of how a HFNY volunteer is making a difference in the life of a teenager:
My name is Scott, and I have been a mentor at Morris Academy, located in the South Bronx, for the past six years. This program has forced me to step out of my self-entitled bubble. It has also drawn me closer to my relationship with Jesus.
After college I came to New York for a job in finance. I began attending Redeemer the summer of 2005 and heard a personal testimony from a HFNY volunteer. Following the service, I introduced myself to the volunteers from Morris Academy at the HFNY volunteer fair.
The purpose of the Morris Academy mentor program is for young professionals to create a one on one relationship with a high school student. As a mentor, you enter these students’ lives in one of the most impressionable times: high school.
My very first phone call to Pedro lasted about 4 minutes. I slowly earned his trust and respect by consistently attending all mentor sessions, showing an interest in his life, and opening up my world to him. Over two years we’d go to movies, baseball games, and even spend many Sunday evenings in my office downtown working on college applications.
He received a full ride scholarship to Stony Brook University and will be a senior this year. Our conversations are real and have touched on real life issues; drugs, gangs, sex, abortion, and yes, even menopause. I’ll be honest, I didn’t have much advice about menopause. As mentors we are to meet the students wherever they are in their lives and walk with them through challenges and hardships—much like Jesus walks with us.
I have learned that these students can see through you. They can spot those who are genuine, loyal, and real. What makes it all worthwhile is getting a call from Pedro at work and hearing his voice filled with energy and joy upon learning he was accepted to his first-choice college. It’s worth playing basketball in a run-down gym in the Bronx with kids who play in their jeans and dress shoes because they love the game.
God has changed me and brought life to me through this program. God has increased my faith; he has shown me how important consistency, commitment, and keeping your word are in relationships. I believe this fight is worth it, to get involved is worth it, to serve these mentees is worth it.