Best Practices in Mentorship!

For three and half years, EMI has been considered a highly regarded, effective and now nationally recognized Mentoring Program serving hundreds of youth participants in Manhattan. The Empire Mentorship Initiative (EMI) is an best practices model derived from the most current edition of the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring (EEPM) that has been informed by the latest research in the field of youth mentoring and research conducted in social work, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, volunteerism, and positive youth development. Our hands on approach to parents and youth ensures the Empire Mentorship Initiative is safe, supervised and effective.

Our mentor selection process begins at recruitment and application, then training and screening, and ends with a rigorous review of all adult volunteers to assess their capacity and potential as quality role models and effective mentors. Each mentor is matched with a young person based on areas of compatibility such as similar interests and hobbies, experiences and personalities, as well as goals. The mentee is interviewed along with the family to gain a better understanding of the youth’s needs. To ensure a sustainable relationship, the mentor and mentee spends at least one hour a week sharing life and building on their experiences. Each match formed is overseen by a trained coach who checks in on the mentee and mentor at least monthly for quality assurance, support and/or intervention. Coaches check in and report on each mentee to the EMI Director, and all observations and reports are included in the Project Database. EMI focuses on a holistic approach concerned with heart, body and mind that embraces critical areas of social, emotional and academic development, and builds communication skills, capacity for healthy decision making to avoid self-destructive behaviors, as well as to model and develop strong moral character, and help create a reachable life-plan for the future. Our training ensures each available mentor is equipped with the proper expectations and necessary support resources to ensure a meaningful relationship with their mentee.

Listen to this match speak about their mentoring experience after one year matched!

Nominated and accepted as 2015 Mentor Mentee of the Year by the National MENTOR organization!

Become a Mentor!

Are you ready to leave a legacy? If so, email our program director Eric Diaz at [email protected] to get started with your online application. You will be contacted for our upcoming training, an interview process and background checked by our expert staff. Not everyone is in the position to leave a positive legacy in a young person's life. But we do our best to ensure those who demonstrate a willingness to follow our Best Practices receive our support in reaching the next generation!

What difference does our mentorship program make? Mentored youth have exhibited success stories like:

Improvement in school

Confiding in someone they trust to avoid self-destructive activities

Gaining hope & vision for the future

The need for Mentoring

Vision Urbana has spent more than ten years providing after school and mentoring programming beginning from 2000 to 2010 at Corlears Middle School (formerly JHS 56 located in between two NYCHA public housing developments on the Lower East Side- the Vladecks and La Guardia projects) serving approximately 150 6th – 8th graders annually. By 2013, Vision Urbana expanded its services to reach hundreds more teens after the tragic death of 16 yr old Raphael Sadonte Ward.

Raphael Sadonte Ward was loved by many in the Lower East Side community, when on January 3rd, he became the first murder victim of 2013 after being shot by another local youth that was encouraged to do so by an irresponsible adult who also provided the gun. Sadonte was like most 16-year-old boys in his neighborhood; the Lower East Side; he went to school, played baseball, was an active participant in community activities, and had loving family and friends.The unfortunate truth is that Sadonte became a victim of gun violence at the hands of a young man who likely lacked a positive role model in their life. The horror and pain caused by this murder resonated in the entire City and mostly the Lower East Side. On the heels of this tragic death, The Empire Mentorship Initiative remembering Raphael Sadonte Ward was formed after being selected to join as the New York State partner for a Northeast Mentoring Consortium Initiative led by the Hispanic Educational Resource Center (HERC) out of Boston, Massachusetts, which was funded through the U.S. Department of Justice. The creation of EMI was a tangible, effective, and sustainable crime intervention that would continue well beyond the time of outrage and mourning in the community.

Studies have shown that youth who had a positive mentor in their life are more likely to make it out of troubling circumstances,” Peter Vanacore, President of CAYM.

Can you respond to the challenge of consistently connecting for at least one hour a week for a year with a young person in your neighborhood? Would you be willing to let us train you with a proven curriculum, at no charge? Will you help us reach another young person before they hurt theirs and others chances of becoming successful? 


Program Director Eric Diaz