Announcing 2020 Mentor of the Year Award Recipients


MENTOR New York is excited to announce the five outstanding mentors from across New York State who will be recognized on September 24, 2020 during the virtual 2020 Mentor of the Year Awards. Award recipients were selected by a volunteer committee comprised of JPMorgan Chase employees who recognized the unique and powerful mentoring relationships each winning mentor shared with their mentee.

“As New York navigated a global pandemic with physical distancing and a transformation of our daily routines, mentors became the front line support for young people throughout the state. This year’s Mentor of the Year award recipients have impressed us with their dedication to maintain their relationships with their mentees during extraordinary times and lifting up their voices,” said Brenda Jimenez, CEO of MENTOR New York. “Each mentor has demonstrated they value the brilliance and uniqueness of their mentee and built a relationship centered on joy.”

One of the five winners is Erwin Howard who became a mentor for Chautauqua Striders after searching for ways to become more involved in the community following his retirement. He was matched with his mentee Will five years ago and in that time they have become like family.

“He has helped me become confident. He has helped me so much through the years,” said Will. “He is family to me.”

When Erwin first began mentoring, he thought his role would be to show up and listen, but he found that he’s gained a great perspective from his mentee Will and is more open to new ideas.

“I would be living a less full life,” said Erwin Howard “I would be lacking the influence of a younger person that I didn’t even know I was missing. My life would be less complete.”

The four additional award winners include: Berenice Belizaire mentor for Bigs & Littles NYC Mentoring, Cara Ginsberg mentor for Mentors Giving Voices Across North Babylon, Joe Fergus mentor for Connections Mentoring and Pat Banhazl mentor for Baldwin School District Mentoring Program.