By Jordan Smith
The John Andrew Mazie Memorial Foundation, which operates the Mazie Mentoring Program, will celebrate another round of successful program graduates this June. The Mazie Mentoring Program, started in 1998, has served 650 high school sophomores until their high school graduation. Lowell Mazie, Founder and Executive Director of the John Andrew Mazie Memorial Foundation, shares that the program has a 95% high school graduation rate and an 80% college or post-secondary training entrance rate.
Lowell Mazie stresses the importance of such mentoring programs: “The Mazie Mentoring Program and other similar programs are crucial to society in terms of the ripple effect their success can have in the future. By changing one child’s life, you potentially impact thousands of other people who come in contact with that child for the rest of his or her life.”
The John Andrew Mazie Memorial Foundation was founded after John Andrew Mazie, a 26 year old member of he Mazie family, was killed by a drunk driver in 1997. Lowell Mazie, John’s father, wanted to carry on his son’s legacy: “He worked with children of low socio-economic backgrounds during and after graduating college. He also helped to renovate dilapidated schools in the low-income and ethnic minority areas of Boston and New York City. He had this uncanny ability to lead individuals to come to their own conclusions as to how to identify and overcome their problems. The letters and outpouring of support we received following John’s accident are what drove us to create the Foundation and allocate all its resources to helping at-risk children.”
The Foundation’s mission is to give disadvantaged high school students with potential a chance at the future they couldn’t imagine they’d ever have. The Mazie Mentoring Program empowers high school students at Framingham High and Waltham High in Massachusetts by pairing students, recommended by high school faculty, with local business owners. Student-mentees stay in the program until they graduate.
Mentees develop an increasingly challenging set of goals. These goals start by requiring mentees to participate in community service activities. Then students work on self-improvement by working to raise their grades and researching career options. Finally, mentees are encouraged to dream big, developing a vision of what they want their lives to be in five years as well as a statement of what they must do to get there. Achieving these goals is recognized by three annual award ceremonies where students receive a $20 Panera gift card for completion of community service, a $50 Barnes and Noble gift card for self-improvement, a laptop computer for setting goals, and finally a $2,000 scholarship.
Once in the program, mentees are required to meet with their mentors at least eight hours a month. Mentors play their role, as local business leaders, by providing a space in their businesses for mentees to shadow them. Mentees are often placed with a specific mentor due to a common business interest.
One student personally thanks Lowell Mazie for an opportunity in the Mazie Mentoring Program:
“Thank you, Mr. Mazie. Like any normal person, I thought of thanking you with flowers. Like a sweet little girl I would have gotten you chocolates. But I thought for a moment and changed my mind. To me the kind of candy you represent is LIFESAVER.
If I didn’t come into this mentoring program, I would still think very poorly about myself. Thanks to the John Andrew Mazie Memorial Foundation I have set goals and have plans for what I want to accomplish in the future. Your program saved me from making terrible mistakes. I hope that in the future you inspire many other kids like me. I know that if you can change me, you can convince many others to think highly of themselves.”
The John Andrew Mazie Memorial Foundation desires to expand to other communities in Massachusetts and New England but faces a monetary obstacle: “Any future Mazie Mentoring Program would require $175,000 of annual sustainable funding which, thus far, we have been unable to acquire. The Waltham start-up was unique, in that there are an unusually large number of businesses headquartered in and around Waltham, which are generously helping to support the program.”
Applications for new mentors are always being accepted for our fall and spring match-ups. For more information, to donate or to become a mentor or corporate sponsor, visit www.mazie.org or contact Lowell Mazie, Executive Director at email@example.com.
Jordan Smith is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Composition at NC State.