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4/19/2013 - Bridgeport Mayor Issues Mentoring Challenge to the Community

Bridgeport, Conn. (April 19, 2013) –   Mayor Bill Finch of Bridgeport, in collaboration with United Way of Coastal Fairfield County’s Mentoring Institute, Mayor Richard A. Moccia of Norwalk, and Mayor John Harkins of Stratford, has issued a “Mayors’ Mentoring Challenge.”  The first of its kind in the State of Connecticut, this effort challenges other chief elected officials in Coastal Fairfield County and individuals in the community to promote, support and become mentors. 

This is a community-wide effort to raise the level of public awareness of the need for and power of mentoring.  Mentoring is a powerful tool that is proven to ensure positive outcomes for youth who need a caring adult in their lives.  All three Mayors are committed to improving the lives of young people in their communities – one child at a time - through their own roles as mentors, by obtaining the support of other chief elected officials to take the challenge, and through such means as proclamations, speeches, press releases, etc. 

The Mayors want to highlight the importance of volunteering your time during National Volunteer Week, April 21 – 27, and there is not better way to make a difference in the life of a child than mentoring.  “Mentoring gives each of us the ability to give something of ourselves and great to a Bridgeport child, which is our time and support.  As a mentor, we can be the companion that is consistent. We can be the open ear and the support system a child needs in order to progress in a learning and social environment.  I urge all of Bridgeport to join me in United Way’s mission.  Become a part of the mentoring program that enables us to prove our commitment to the City’s youth.”

The Mentoring Institute of Coastal Fairfield County is a partnership of independent community, school, career, faith and online mentoring organizations that work collaboratively to increase the number of children and youth from throughout Coastal Fairfield County who are matched with caring adults who want to make a positive difference in a young person's life.  The Mentoring Institute network members that serve Bridgeport children and youth are ACE Mentor Program – Greater Bridgeport Chapter, Ace Mentor Program of America, Inc.; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern CT; Bridgeport Mentoring Program, School Volunteer Association of Bridgeport, Inc.; Champions Mentoring Program, Family ReEntry, Inc.; Foster Grandparent Program, Child and Family Guidance Center, Inc.; Mentoring for Academic Achievement & College Success, Bridgeport Public Education Fund, Inc.; Sacred Heart University; Wi-mentor, United Way of Coastal Fairfield County.  These mentoring programs serve 1,000 Bridgeport children and youth and they have 189 children and youth on their waitlists.  There are 293 Bridgeport residents currently mentors in at least one of these mentoring programs.

The goals of the Mayors’ Mentoring Challenge are to recruit 500 new mentors for the mentoring programs that serve children and youth in Coastal Fairfield County and to cut in half the number of children and youth waiting to be matched with a mentor.

To learn more about mentoring opportunities, visit

United Way of Coastal Fairfield County’s mission is: “Together, we mobilize our communities to improve people’s lives.” Our vision is that all at risk children in Coastal Fairfield County are successful in school and prepared for success in life. United Way of Coastal Fairfield County serves the towns of Fairfield, Bridgeport, Stratford, Westport, Trumbull, Easton, Monroe, Weston, Norwalk, Wilton, New Canaan and Darien. Find out more at our website,