National Mentoring Month at The Family Center

Mentee's from The Buddy Program

Mentees from The Buddy Program

On behalf of everyone at The Family Center, I want to say a big Thank You to all of our past, present and prospective mentors!  Our mentors are caring and enthusiastic adults who make a serious commitment to make a difference in the life of a child.  As if that weren’t enough, many of our mentors also support TFC’s mission in other ways, making and soliciting donations, and volunteering their time and skills throughout the organization.

In celebration of National Mentoring Month, we were able to send a number of our mentor pairs to an event at Dave and Busters hosted by the Mentoring Partnership of New York.   Our mentoring pairs from The Buddy Program had a great time and were able to enjoy the various activities, such as face painting, arts and crafts, and video game playing.  It was wonderful to see all the Buddies spend quality time with one another and just have fun.

We were able to thank our mentors with a wine and cheese party hosted by the New York City Mentoring Children Collaboration, of which we are a founding member.  Our mentors had the opportunity to enjoy an adult evening and meet other TFC mentors, as well as mentors from our partner organizations, Hour Children, and Children of Promise.

It was an exciting month for The Buddy Program in other ways as well:

  • The Mentoring Children Collaboration received a grant from the New York Community Trust which will support expansion of mentoring services to children impacted by incarceration.
  • Last Saturday, we trained 7 new mentors and made 3 new matches.  We are expecting to make as many as 10 matches in the month of February.
  • We continued to conduct interviews for our mentoring research study funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.  Thank you to all the mentors, mentees and parents who have agreed to participate.
  • Mentoring pairs attended the first of a four session workshop conducted by The Museum of Modern Art.
A Recent Match in The Buddy Program

A Recent Match in The Buddy Program

We are extremely grateful for the dedication of our mentors.  They are truly part of The Family Center mission.

Juan Carlos Payero
Buddy Program Coordinator
Marya Gilborn
Director of Social Services

For more information about The Buddy Program and other volunteer opportunities at The Family Center, please contact Juan Carlos Payero at (212) 766-4522 ext. 106 or at

Answering the Call to Serve

Lyle Monteserrato with a client family at The Family Center Annual Holiday Party 2011

Lyle Monteserrato with a client family at The Family Center Annual Holiday Party 2011

Leaders are called to serve.  But I should add what I know from experience:  the call to serve is not always loud enough to hear -at least, at first.  I’m hoping my story will turn up the volume for you.

I began volunteering with The Family Center by helping vulnerable NYC children decorate cookies and make crafts once a year at the agency’s Annual Holiday Party.  After volunteering at this event for a few years, Family Center staff approached me about serving on the Leadership Council. 

Only a short time after joining this group of local professionals dedicated to vulnerable NYC families, I was approached again -this time, to serve as Secretary of the Leadership Council.  I was not sure if I had time, if it was the ‘right fit,’ etc.  Yet The Family Center kept calling.  After serving as Secretary , I became Leadership Council Co-Chair.

Today, I serve as the Vice Chair of The Family Center Board of Directors. My company Credit Suisse supports The Family Center in numerous ways, including an annual softball game every spring.

My amazing colleagues at Credit Suisse have been gracious enough to answer my call to serve.  A current Co-Chair of Leadership Council, Alexandra Lloyd, as well as the group’s Secretary, Jamie O’Sullivan, came to The Family Center at my urging.  The Family Center Santa, Anthony O’Callaghan, also works with me at Credit Suisse (when the North Pole is in its off-season).  You see, the call to serve radiates out.  Once you have the great experience of volunteering at The Family Center, you will call on others too.

Lyle and his Credit Suisse colleagues at The Family Center Holiday Party 2012

Lyle Monteserrato and his Credit Suisse colleagues at The Family Center Holiday Party 2012.  Photo credit: Ehsanul Haque

I am lucky to work at a company so incredibly supportive of volunteerism.  My generous colleagues magnify this giving and its impact.  Together, we work with The Family Center to keep vulnerable NYC families stronger, longer.

My question for you, future leader, is this:  When will you answer The Family Center’s call to serve?

-Lyle Monteserrato,
Vice Chair of The Family Center Board of Directors

P.S.  Answer The Family Center’s call to serve by joining us for the Leadership Council social on February 20th at 7pm.  Click here for more information.

Thank You to our 2012 Blog Readers!

Happy 2013 from The Family Center!

This year will be a big one for our agency as we open a mental health clinic for children and youth struggling with mental illness in Bedford-Stuyvesant and the surrounding Central Brooklyn neighborhoods.  Through this clinic’s programming –and with your support– The Family Center will serve 250 more vulnerable NYC families every year with our expert social, legal and health-care coordination services.

As we work to crunch last year’s numbers, we look forward to sharing The Family Center’s 2012 successes with you soon.   Stay tuned for those.

In the meantime, the stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.  Thanks again for your amazing support of our work keeping families stronger, longer.  All the best to you and yours in this New Year.

-Ivy Gamble Cobb, Executive Director

Here’s an excerpt from Family Is Our Middle Name‘s 2012 report:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.