Donate now and your donation will go twice as far!
Connections is, at the root, grounded in the interconnectedness of people. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Connections staff are putting in more hours, not less, to sustain and support each mentoring relationship. In the first six months of the pandemic, there were four major regulatory shifts in how New York State was permitting mentors to interact with mentees, as well as additional specifications from each of our 14 program partners across NYC and Westchester County. Due in large part to our advocacy and safety protocols, we were permitted to safely resume in-person visits between mentors and mentees as early as mid-June.
The circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic are requiring that the work gets done differently, using different tools, and demands innovation and creativity to navigate new hurdles. Mentees need a trusted adult now more than ever. The mission of Connections remains steadfast, the ways in which the mission is accomplished are ever changing. Despite the remarkable challenges of the past year, Connections matched 26 young people with mentors who have helped them combat the overwhelming isolation, loneliness, and uncertainty of 2020.
I need your help. The pandemic and related crises have significantly inhibited our ability to fundraise. Our 2019 gala was canceled, meeting new donors is challenging, and networking with important donors face-to-face at events is non-existent. A generous donor has agreed to match up to $100,000 of our year-end appeal, and we can’t do it without your contribution. To be honest, if we fall short of this goal, we will not be able to remain at our current service level and will have to decrease the size of the program. This breaks my heart because it means turning away the 22+ youth presently on our wait list hoping to be connected with a mentor.
Here is a concrete, powerful example of what we do every day. Earlier this year we met Timothy*. Timothy’s home life was tough; he was drawn into his older brother’s gang to fill his need for protection and a sense of belonging. When Timothy got arrested, a teacher in his school, Jason*, reached out to Connections for help. Jason was committed to being in Timothy’s life and helping him get back on track, but he didn’t know how to navigate the complicated juvenile justice system. In partnership and Timothy’s lawyer, we were able to successfully move the court to place Timothy with one of our partner organizations where we could support Jason in becoming his official mentor. Many months into their relationship, Timothy was moved to a different facility that had never had a mentoring program.
Connections advocated successfully for Timothy and Jason to continue their mentorship under our supervision in this new facility, which means Timothy has an adult in his life who knows and believes in him and who he knows, trusts, and respects. This is the messy and challenging work we do every day at Connections and we can’t do it without your support.
Please take advantage of this dollar-for-dollar match to help your donation go twice as far by donating to Connections today. I am hopeful that 2021 will be a better, healthier, more just year and that we will have the resources to continue to serve the young people like Timothy who need us.
Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving.
Paul Muratore, Founder