Freeporter Andrea Elder-Howell was recently appointed to the Mentor New York Board of Directors. The former SUNY Old Westbury University professor and member of the Nassau County Alumnae Delta Sigma Theta Sorority said that working with Mentor New York is another way to support Freeport children.
Last July, Elder-Howell, 59, was named managing director and vice president for legal affairs of PSEG Long Island, and leads its Long Island legal team. She also serves on the Nassau County Girl Scout board of directors, and is an active member of the Sterns Park Civic Association and Jack and Jill of America, a nonprofit that supports African-American mothers and children ages 2 to 19.
January is National Mentoring Month. Under way now is a statewide effort to recruit volunteer mentors and highlight the impact they have on young people. According to Mentor New York, some 450,000 children across the state need mentors.
“As we continue to expand services throughout New York state, we need visionary leadership,” said Brenda Jimenez, director of operations and growth strategies at Mentor New York. “We’re ex-cited to have An-drea supporting our growth strategy and helping us close the mentoring gap that exists for children facing adversity across the state and in our local communities.”
Mentor New York provides on-site training for its volunteers to support more than 700 programs serving 64,000 youth. It has overseen mentoring programs at J.W. Dodd Middle School and Freeport High School for the past 15 years. The organization has offices on Long Island and in New York City and Buffalo.
The group’s mentoring programs, according to Jean La-hage Cohen, its executive director, help to connect students in Freeport and other communities like Baldwin, Hempstead and Roosevelt with working professionals.
Each volunteer is screened, trained and supervised. The organization conducts criminal background checks and rounds of interviews before accepting new mentors and matching them with young people. Mentors meet one on one with their mentees at local schools.
“We’re so pleased to have an accomplished business leader joining us to support our vision for making mentoring available to young people across New York state,” Cohen said. “Andrea Elder-Howell’s expertise will help us move forward serving more youth.”
Originally from Jamaica, Queens, Elder-Howell moved to Freeport 19 years ago. After graduating from Francis Lewis High School in 1977, she attended Queens College, where she majored in accounting. She went on to earn a law degree from Rutgers University Law School and a Master of Law in taxation from New York University.
Elder-Howell, who is married and has two college-age children, said she wants to provide support for Freeport’s diverse community through her role with Mentor New York. “Freeport has a rich history and is very diverse economically as well as racially,” she said. “I think that with my background and everything I’ve done, I can be an asset. I would like for the children who are in need to know they have a resource if they need a mentor.”