Forty-two Westchester high school girls will get the opportunity to be mentored by business women, thanks to Judge Judy Sheindlin and her daughter Nicole Sheindlin.
The "Her Honor" Mentoring Program, which kicked off its seventh year at a luncheon at the Larchmont Shore Club Thursday, is administered by the Westchester County Office for Women and The Mental Health Association of Westchester.
The program was developed by Nicole Sheindlin, the daughter of Judy Sheindlin, of the Judge Judy syndicated television show. Judy Sheindlin funds the program.
Nicole Sheindlin said there were only eight young women in the program when it started seven years ago.
"We've had 177 young women graduate," she said.
Sheindlin said she modeled the program after the way her mother mentored her.
"It involves selecting the right students and picking the right mentors," she said.
"It is great to connect people and have it be a really positive experience," Sheindlin said.
Her goal is for the students to get first-hand experience in the professional workplace.
The schools in the program are Mamaroneck High School; White Plains High School; Mount Vernon, Nelson Mandela and Nellie A . Thornton high schools in Mount Vernon and Saunders High School in Yonkers.
Meryl Lefkowitz, president and founder of M Boutique Group LLC in Chappaqua, is mentoring Kelly Briceno, 17, of White Plains in public relations and marketing.
"I love being a mentor," Lefkowitz, a Mamaroneck High School graduate, said, adding that this was the third time doing so.
"Someone gave me an opportunity when I was young," she said and wanted to the same.
Briceno, a senior at White Plains High School, said she was happy to have a mentor.
She said she was really into social media and want to study business in college.
"I think this will be a good step toward that," Briceno said.
Heather Adessa, the owner of Glo Beauty Bar in Mamaroneck and a Mamaroneck resident, will be mentoring Claudia Lopes, 16.
Adessa got involved with Her Honor Mentoring because of a friend—Noel D'Allacco-Ammirati, the founder of Operation Prom.
She said she wanted Lopes to learn the whole business so she can decide what she really wants to do.
Adessa said there was a lot to running her business besides working with clients, something she said Lopes could be able to do by the spring since she is studying cosmetology at Southern Westchester BOCES.
For her part, Lopes, a Mamaroneck High School senior, said she feels really lucky to be in the program and is hoping to enhance what she already knows.
"Hopefully I will explore all the options and learn more about the business," she said.
Judy Sheindlin, who is more diminutive than she appears on television, couldn't be more proud of the program her daughter has developed.
"She found her calling," Judy Sheindlin said. "This is her forte."
The elder Sheindlin agreed with Lopes that luck was a part of all of the young women being there.
"They wanted it badly," she said, "and they worked hard to get it.
"But I think, with all things, there is a measure of luck," Judy Sheindlin said, "hard work and luck."
The mentors and mentees from White Plains are:
Kelly Briceno—Education has always been Kelly’s primary focus. One of her aspirations is to work for Google.
Samantha Carter—Samantha describes herself as open minded. She is determined to pursue a legal career.
Hon. Delores Brathwaite—Judge, Greenburgh Town Court
Mattia Colon—Mattia is inspired by her mother’s determination. Her future aspirations include a career in clinical therapy.
Diane Balistreri— Senior Manager, Westchester County Office for Women
Erika Cueva—Erika is passionate about her community and advocating for children.
Martha Anderson—Spanish Speaking Program Specialist, Westchester County Office for Women
Michelle Giraldo—From an early age, Michele learned responsibility and independence. She looks forward to a career in public relations.
Potoula Gjidija—Manager, Community Relations, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Lesslie Meza—Lesslie is persistent and determined to succeed. She wants to help her community by pursuing a career in the medical field.
Maria De Pena—Nowak MD - NY Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division
Michelle Palma—Michelle deeply values her education. Her dream is to work in the medical field.
Maria De Pena-Nowak MD— NY Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division
Maria Rojas—Maria is intrigued by business. She works hard and is determined to lead by example.
Jane Corcoran—Owner, E-Administrative Services
Emily Serrano—Emily loves art as a form of self-expression. Her goal is to become a fashion designer.
Noel D’Allacco— Founder, OperationPROM
Ashely Vega—Ashley enjoys making others laugh and smile. She looks forward to a career helping people and enhancing their lives.
Cathy Schauber— Owner, Cathy's Biscotti