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Young Men’s Mentoring Program of the Tarrytowns Expands Focus

by Kevin Brown

Based on his personal experiences and seeing what his friends were dealing with, in late 2013, Roniel Bencosme assembled a few professionals from The Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow community to tell them about his idea of starting a hands-on and informal mentoring program for young men in our community. The group’s mission was to help young men prepare for and navigate the college application process, particularly those who do not have someone at home to help guide them.

And so it began in January 2014, when the Young Men’s Mentoring Program of the Tarrytowns (YMMPT) had its first meeting. By March of that year, the format and focus of the group expanded to not only address the needs associated with the college process, but to also emphasize career development.

While remaining true to its original mission of helping high school students with the college application process, the YMMPT has expanded its focus to help young men of all ages gain the requisite skills and life experience to lead a successful life. In fact, the age span of the mentees range from SHMS 8th grade students as young as 13 to young professionals in their mid-20s who are SHHS alumni.

The format of YMMPT is simple and informal: encouraging an interactive and honest dialogue. The group meets monthly (except in August) with one or two speakers from diverse professional backgrounds to speak to the young men for about 15 minutes during which the person discusses his academic, personal and career paths. After the presentation, the young men, as well as the mentors in the room, ask questions in an informal setting. The result is a free flow of ideas and exchanges that enables the young men to learn valuable life lessons and insights into the business world, as well as to build their network of professional contacts. This is a key element of the program, as the addition of professional contacts can often lead to a summer job, internship, full-time position or just sound advice.

Whether it’s how to compile a resume, or what questions to ask on an interview, or what does it take to enter a certain profession, the YMMPT is there to answer those questions. Ronny Munoz, a 2013 Sleepy Hollow graduate and junior at Siena College, echoes this spirit when he said, “YMMPT provides young men with the necessary resources and mentoring needed to excel in this ever-changing and complex world.” As a result of his YMMPT involvement, Munoz has honed his interviewing and resume writing skills, made important professional connections, and will be interning at a Big Four Accounting firm this summer.

The YMMPT meets at the Sleepy Hollow Senior Center and has attracted people from a variety of professions, including: accounting and finance, law, athletics, healthcare, public administration/government, marketing, property management, technology, sales and the trades, and represents employers ranging from Google to Village Hall.

The YMMPT meets at the Sleepy Hollow Senior Center and has attracted people from a variety of professions, including: accounting and finance, law, athletics, healthcare, public administration/government, marketing, property management, technology, sales and the trades, and represents employers ranging from Google to Village Hall. The program is proud to have had a strong track record with helping young men develop the necessary skills to succeed and connect with potential employers.

Steven Bencosme, a 2013 Sleepy Hollow graduate and junior at Ithaca College, summed up his experience with the program by saying,“Through this program I was able to formulate connections that provided me with the opportunity to gain experiential learning at Phelps Memorial Hospital after I secured an internship last summer.”

If you are interested in participating in the YMMPT as either a mentor or mentee, please contact us at ymmpt2014@gmail.com. Also, please like YMMPT on Facebook to be a part of this exciting group.

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