Next Level Mentoring (NLM) is a youth mentoring program under the umbrella of Positive Impact New York, Inc. providing mentoring programs for middle school youth in Suffolk County. NLM was created in the memory of Gordon Hamilton, a personal friend to Executive Director, Terrell Dozier. Before his unfortunate passing in 2005, Gordon often spoke of plans for a program that would influence youth throughout his home state of Connecticut. Positive Impact New York will honor Gordon’s legacy that was cut short and continue the work he started.
The program will form partnerships with local school districts. NLM's goal is to foster a commitment to young people that will promote pro-social friendships, strong interpersonal skills, and reassert a sense of hope in the future. Only through personal relationships can a sense of individual responsibility be reestablished that will give youth the commitment to follow through on path to adulthood with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Because of the society we live in now with racial tension, social media and the fear of the unknown, our youth have lost faith in the possibilities that await them if they are successful in putting their lives together. To accomplish this goal, young people must be in a caring, inclusive learning environment that promotes their best effort and reinforces personal respect.
NLM is a program that is in direct response to the growing number of young people that are either falling through the cracks at school or are in need of an added push. The goal of the program is to prevent youths from having a turbulent transition to adulthood and offer positive support system to avoid the pitfalls that can derail their lives. The focus is slightly different at each level but the goal remains the same; empower the young person to make positive changes in his/her life.
NLM will focus primarily on middle school youths. It is projected that within three years, 50% of the system's students will be in middle school. This age group is particularly problematic and a perfect time for mentoring to be effective.
Initially, NLM’s mentoring programs will pair a group of 10 young adults with a mentor(s) for 12 months. During that time they will participate in weekly planned activities to strengthen the relationships between the youth and their mentor(s) improve the young people's confidence and hopefulness. Mentors will receive continuous training throughout the year and will participate in monthly meeting to report the group's progress.
Over time, NLM will create a learning environment that will be an invaluable resource to young people, aspiring mentors and the community at large.