Volunteer opportunity description

Launched in August 2011, the New York City Young Men's Initiative (YMI) is a cross-agency initiative that continues to be the nation's most comprehensive municipal strategy tackling the disparities faced by young men of color. In support of this vision, DYCD's YMI Mentoring program engages youth in grades 5 through 12 to help them transition into middle and high school and become involved in their communities. Participants are provided with opportunities to learn life skills while developing positive relationships with caring adults outside of their families. More than 60 programs in DYCD-funded community centers, afterschool programs, and youth employment initiatives offer participants the chance to engage in structured group mentoring, attend outings that promote bonding and exploration of themes around success and leadership, and complete service activities that benefit their local communities.

To date, more than 400 NYC youth and 80 volunteer mentors have had opportunities to foster positive relationships outside of their families, and our mentees and mentors have collectively achieved more than 4000 hours of service.

Evaluation findings:

  1. Mentoring program participants are more engaged in community center programming than their peers who are not enrolled in mentoring.
  2. The retention rate of the YMI mentoring program is higher than retention rates typically found in traditional afterschool programs.
  3. Mentoring program participants reported positive attitudes about their abilities to do well in school and beyond, compared to non-mentoring participants enrolled at similar community centers.
  4. They also are more engaged in learning experiences and have a very positive perception of their mentors, reporting high levels of trust and positive relationships.


Mentoring will take place in small groups. Mentors will be asked to commit to at least one and a half hours with their group each week for at least a nine-month relationship. Mentors will meet with their group at a DYCD-funded afterschool program site or other agreed upon locations. Mentors will be trained on issues such as scheduling, activities, principles of youth development, group dynamics, relationship building, handling crises, and reporting. Each program site will have a mentoring program coordinator who will provide ongoing support to the mentors. All volunteers must be at least 18 years of age or older and undergo a screening process to participate.

To express interest in this opportunity, please email Karen Bissette (kbissette@dycd.nyc.gov) and include your availability to serve as a mentor (days and times), your email address and your phone number.

Program sites are located throughout the five boroughs.

Our volunteer needs

We need volunteers who are free at these times


Volunteer opportunity location(s)

About the organization

Department of Youth and Community Development

Karen Bissette
Senior Project Manager, DYCD Mentoring
Organization’s website:
Volunteer opportunity website:
Learn more about this organization:
Organization’s profile
View all volunteer opportunities listed by this organization