Meaningful connections between students and mentors were celebrated during the Nassau County Bar Association Mentor Program luncheon wrapping up the 26th year of the program that helps local elementary and middle school students.
The event, hosted at Domus, the bar association headquarters in Mineola, included a menu suitable for youngsters and the young at heart featuring macaroni and cheese, pizza, chicken fingers, french fries and lemonade,
For 26 years, the Bar Association mentored students in the late-elementary and middle school levels at Woodland and Clarke middle schools in East Meadow; Great Neck North and South middle schools; Schultz Middle School in Hempstead; Jackson Main and Barack Obama elementary schools in Hempstead; Jericho Middle School; Turtle Hook Middle School in Uniondale; Grand Avenue Elementary School in Uniondale; and Westbury Middle School.
“This program has been in existence for more than a quarter of a century,” Rosalia Baiamonte, the president of the Nassau County Bar Association told the students. “I want you all to know students, that it is a joy for us to have you here and for us to be conducted in your lives in the way that we are, and we hope that you derive as much joy and learning from this as we do from hosting you here.”
Dorian Segure, a law and civic responsibility teacher at Schultz Middle School in Hempstead, was given an award recognizing his outstanding service to the mentor program.
“I have the most pleasing opportunity at this moment to present an award to a man who thinks like a man of action, but acts like a man of thought,” Dorian Glover, an attorney who mentors students at Barack Obama Elementary School in Hempstead, said. “He’s one who on a daily basis shares our beloved profession of law and courts to young people, and if he has touched one person — and we know he has — he has improved our lives in our community.”
Segure brought two students from Hempstead High School, juniors Angie Rivera and Glendy Hernandez, who have gone through the program as middle school students and are now mentoring students in high school.
“It’s really inspirational,” Rivera said. “It’s great work to help students. It’s amazing and me honestly, I love it just being able to see the students grow.
“My brother is a part of the program now in middle school and it’s really nice to see him mature and grow as a person.”
The program has some important names on its roster taking on the roll of mentors. Maxine Broderick, a judge for the Nassau County District Court in the 10th judicial district, has been a mentor at Barack Obama since the beginning.
“I grew up in and was born and raised in the village of Hempstead so I wanted to make a contribution to my local neighborhood,” Broderick said. “There can be a lot of negativity about young people in the Village of Hempstead so when I actually got into the schools; I found out that these kids are great, they’re very eager.”
Randi Bernstein, a guidance counselor at Clarke Middle School said she loves to see the connections the kids make with their mentors.
“I believe it’s a wonderful thing,” Bernstein said. “Students need someone who is a good role model, and talking to someone who’s been successful — it works.”
Grand Avenue Elementary is a recent addition to the program.
Nadine Patterson, a social worker at the school shared that there is heavy emphasis on mentoring in the building, and they’ve had other mentor programs for over 20 years.
“Mentoring is always good, and it’s always a great opportunity for kids to meet outsiders from the school,” Patterson said. “We were so happy to have this collaboration.”