Brighter Futures After-School Mentoring Program
“The Mentoring Program gives kids a chance to show they really can succeed at school and a reason to keep trying to improve their lives. One of the main reasons this program works so well is that the kids know they have a caring adult they can call anytime so they don’t have to feel so alone with their problems.”
The Brighter Futures Mentoring Program was established in 2004 as an extension of our Summer Camp in order to maintain contact with at-risk campers and counselors throughout the year, help them perform better academically and encourage them to strive for education beyond High School. Guidance counselors, social workers and teachers refer children to the program.
All of the 150 children in the program are currently homeless, have been homeless at one time, or come from very low-income families. Our goal is to help these at-risk children to be the first in their families to attend college and the last to live in poverty.
Brighter Future provides individual and group tutoring four days a week in five different locations in Yonkers and White Plains. Children attend as they are able, but many come daily, craving both the academic support and the individual attention that is missing from so many of their family situations.
On weekends, children sometimes volunteer to help with training for the Special Olympics as their way to give back. Brighter Futures programs are targeted at children in three different age brackets.
This literacy program for homeless children age 5-9 is run from the Coachman Family Shelter in White Plains in collaboration with BOCES. Its objective is to narrow the reading gap between children from low-income families and those from wealthier families to ensure that these children do not fall too far behind in the early years of elementary school.
Elementary School Educational Enrichment
Children in grades 2-8 receive individual homework and reading help, group tutoring in English, math, science and history and participate in educational games including Scrabble and chess.
Students in grades 9-12 participate in a variety of educational and college prep activities including subject area tutoring, individualized help with Regents Test Preparation, SAT tutoring (TOEFL tutoring is provided for bilingual students), college tours and educational field trips. Assistance is provided with all aspects of the college application process. Each year, 8-12 college scholarships averaging $4,000 are awarded to deserving students to ensure that they don’t have to drop out of college due to financial hardships.
What makes us unique
The Brighter Futures Mentoring Program has been specifically designed to respond to the needs of extremely high-risk children who require a high degree of flexibility and room for failure. No child is ever removed from our program for failing to meet academic standards. We celebrate small gains to motivate participants.
Many of the students in the program have ADHD, some are malnourished and others have emotional challenges. In order to ensure that they learn as effectively as possible the tutors work frequent breaks into the tutoring sessions. During these breaks tutors discuss life skills and other important issues like maintaining good hygiene, handling stress, using positive conflict resolution, avoiding illegal substance use and gang involvement.
Location and Hours:
3:00-7:00 p.m. Monday – Thursday
Coachman Family Shelter
123 East Post Rd.
White Plains, NY 10601
Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church
320 Walnut St.
Yonkers, NY 10701
Roosevelt High School
631 Tuckahoe Rd.
Yonkers, NY 10710
Lincoln High School
375 Kneeland Ave.
Yonkers, NY 10704
Grinton I. Will Library
1500 Central Park Ave.
Yonkers, New York
… and at local libraries. Bus fares are provided to mentoring locations as most participants cannot afford transportation.
Eileen Torres, Director Youth Services
How You Can Help
- Financial donations to the Brighter Futures Scholarship Fund are appreciated. All donations to the scholarship fund up to a maximum of $25,000 are matched by a generous donor—doubling the effect of your donation.
- Donations to help high school seniors attend their prom are also needed- to help cover the cost of tickets, flowers, dress/tux rentals, shared limo rides, etc. and ensure that hard-working students don’t miss out on a very special occasion.
- $25 gift cards—to Target, Walmart, Kohl’s or Dick’s Sporting Goods are needed for use as Birthday, Christmas and Graduation gifts.
- Tickets to sports events, theater, arts or other cultural events for 2-25 participants are welcome.
Volunteers can assist by helping a high school student navigate the college application process or organizing a Snack Drivee. Each year we need approximately 8,000 snacks and drinks- popular items are individually packaged granola bars, cereal bars, pretzels, filled crackers, dried fruit and packaged cookies.
To Volunteer or make an In-Kind Donation—please contact: