NORWALK, Conn. —The Human Services Council announced a $10,000 donation from AT&T Connecticut to support its Norwalk Mentor Program.
“AT&T has supported the Norwalk Mentor Program since 2008, and we are very proud to continue our partnership with this critical resource for local youth,” said Harry Carey, director external affairs, AT&T Connecticut. “We welcome the opportunity to help students graduate with the life skills needed to succeed in college and careers.”
State Representative Chris Perone, who was on hand for the announcement, added: “For seven decades, the Human Services Council has identified unmet community needs and has filled those gaps by creating and fostering programs that educate, safeguard, and empower the people of the Norwalk community.”
A member organization of Norwalk ACTS, the Human Services Council has been home to the Norwalk Mentor Program since 2009, and is uniquely qualified to provide children and adolescents with a quality mentoring experience in the location where they spend the bulk of their time — at school. Serving all 19 Norwalk Public Schools, the Norwalk Mentor Program made 248 mentor/mentee matches over the past school year, provided nearly 10,000 hours of mentoring, and saw 100 percent of its senior mentees graduate from high school with plans to attend college.
“It is notable that over the past school year 92 percent of the students in the Norwalk Mentor Program were from minority groups, and 76 percent of the students were eligible for free or reduced price lunch at school,” said Anthony DiLauro, executive director of the Human Services Council. “The on-site nature of our program eliminates barriers that keep students who might be at risk from enjoying the benefits of a mentor relationship.”
There is compelling Norwalk-specific data about the correlation between eligibility for free lunch and graduation rates. According to the Connecticut Department of Education, in 2012 only 54.2 percent of Hispanic males and only 57.6 percent of Black males who were eligible for free lunch graduated high school within four years (in comparison to 84.6 percent of all Norwalk Public School students who graduated within four years). “These young men are particularly at-risk and a large percentage of students in the Norwalk Mentor Program both fall into this category and greatly benefit from the supports we offer,'' DiLauro said.
According to end-of-year surveys, parents and school personnel overwhelmingly reported positive changes in their students who participated in the Norwalk Mentor Program.
“It is exciting to witness the powerful impact that mentoring can have on the lives of Norwalk public school students, and we are grateful to AT&T Connecticut for their support of the Norwalk Mentor Program," DiLauro said.
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