Youths Leaving Foster Care Get Help from Seasoned Mentors
Steve Adubato talks to Paul Muratore about his journey from successful entrepreneur to founding his mentoring organization, Connections. Steve also speaks with a young man, Brad Mensah, who is benefitting from the program that pairs youths leaving the foster care system with mentors who help and guide them on the path to finding success in the real world.
"One on One is pleased to welcome one on two. Paul Muratore is the Founder and Executive Director of a great organization, celebrating its first anniversary as we do this program, called Connections. And also, Brad Mensah is a Connections mentee. How you guys doing? Really good. Thanks for having us today. Now how would you describe what this organization is? Connections is an organization that finds people of character, 25 years and older, and we find people like Brad who are also people of budding character. And we put them together. So we look for inner city metro kids, and we pair them with mentors, to help them transition to the next stage of their life. You started this? I did. Why? So I spent 30 years doing some volunteer work with fun people like Brad. And spent a fair amount of that time in the professional world. And I left, and wanted to do something philanthropic. And so I saw what was working really well in the foster care system, and what some of the holes were, and so I went to Children's Village in Dobbs Ferry, and asked them to host me. And said, "Can we bring, kinda, the pieces together?" as we look at kids trying to exit the foster care system, and put them on the strongest footing possible. Because sometimes those transitions can be a little bit scary. And sometimes you have to do them by yourself. You got a mentor the whole time? Yeah. Her name is Ally. Ally. Ally's hanging around here somewhere, right? Yes. Ally's watching the show right now? Mm hmm. She's proud of you? She's a wonderful mentor. Because? Because, I mean, I'm succeeding in life. I'm doing what I do. And she's the best. She gives me good advice for that. Helpful pieces of advice she's given you that you know have made, and will continue to make a difference for you? Do not allow myself to fail. Don't "allow" it? Yeah. What does that mean? Because people tend to fall off. And when they fall off from, I guess, like whatever they're doing, they don't bounce back. So like I told myself like, if I do fall off, bounce back, and if I don't bounce back, she's always there to, you know, pick me up, or tell me "Brad, you know, you're falling off." And I always bounce back up. How do you communicate with her? How do you interact with her? Email, text, phone call, and... She's right there. Yup. Always. What's that like for you to know she's there..."