A local high school student from Howard Beach has founded his own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization aimed at getting high school students to mentor middle schoolers on the high school application process and help with test prep, and is looking to expand.
Michael N. Manta, co-founder and CEO — and the program’s original mentor — of NYCMentors.org, created the program in 2018 as a way to help his younger brother, Jonathan, navigate the high school admission process and expand his search outside of the local high schools. After mentoring his brother, Jonathan was accepted to The McCallie School.
With his brother’s success, Manta is now looking to grow his organization and has reached out to State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. for help.
Manta’s NYCMentors.org partners high-achieving under-served middle school students with high school students who are looking to give back and help these middle schoolers with the high school admission process and give them advice and help with test prep, because many under-served middle school students do not have access to those resources.
“I really wanted to do something to give back,” Manta said. “There’s not really a program in New York City that has this type of mentorship. Having high school students working directly with middle school students, it gives them an older brother or older sister to get advice from. You don’t get that from just tutoring and test prep.”
“When Michael came to me with his program and told me he is looking to expand the number of students he would be able to reach, I knew I had to help,” Addabbo, a member of the Senate Education Committee, said. “I have a daughter in high school and another in middle school, and I know how much of a resource my oldest will be for when my youngest daughter makes that jump into high school. I would love to be able to help students who may not have anyone to help them figure out the complex application process, and what other things a student may need to get into the high school they want — like joining clubs and extracurricular activities.”
Currently, NYCMentors.org can pair only 25 middle school students with high school mentors. They are looking for grants that will help them expand the student pool, but also keep the quality of mentorship. Manta is also looking to sign up additional mentors and mentees.
NYCMentors.org will have a table at the 19th Annual Chess-in-the-Park Rapid Open on Saturday, September 14 at the Bethesda Fountain, Central Park 72nd St. NYCMentors.org will be at the event from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. signing up high school and middle school students who wish to participate in the program.
Anyone who is interested in learning more about the program or who may want to volunteer to be a mentor or mentee can find more information at nycmentors.org, or can reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.