Mentoring Days in Putnam and Westchester Counties
Westchester and Putnam County residents were given the opportunity to intern at a job that interests them as CAREERS for People with Disabilities, Inc. (CAREERS) coordinated the fifth Annual Putnam County Mentoring Day on October 25th. A collaboration with Putnam County Executive Mary Ellen Odell, the event pairs mentors from County Departments with individuals interested in learning what it takes to be successfully employed.
“Mentoring Day is a great time for County staff to share their employment skills and interests with individuals who don’t normally get the chance to prove themselves,” remarked CAREERS Executive Director Tina Cornish-Lauria. “County Executive Odell and her staff always make our participants feel welcome and needed, and everyone leaves the event with new understanding and a new friend,” Cornish-Lauria said.
“People with disabilities represent a largely untapped well of talent that are loyal, dedicated and hard-working, but oftentimes get overlooked by employers,” said Odell. “After participating in this program for a fifth year, I can personally attest to its success in educating the public so they recognize the contributions of people with disabilities, rather than limitations, and welcome them in the workplace.”
CAREERS clients, Carmel High School students, and PARC participants were matched with volunteer County mentors, based on the interests of each mentee. County departments participating included The County Clerk’s Office, Department of Social Services, Office for Senior Resources and Veterans Services, among others. Participants worked side by side with mentors for several hours learning administrative skills, customer service, landscaping, delivering mail and food service, among other activities.
In Westchester County, seven students from New Rochelle High School, as well as clients from CAREERS, Keon Center, WJCS and ACCES-VR were matched with volunteer County mentors, based on the interests of each mentee. Westchester County departments hosting the students were Human Resources, Tourism, Parks and Recreation, Office for People with Disabilities, County Attorney’s Office and Corrections. Students worked side by side with mentors for several hours performing tasks including data entry and clerical work, responding to inquiries and researching events. Participants at the Department of Corrections were taken on a tour of the facility.
At the end of their day, students received certificates from Westchester’s Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett, who noted how honored he was to be able to be part of this special day in Westchester County.