WARREN COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Southern Adirondacks connects young people in and around the greater Glens Falls region with opportunities to learn from, and form relationships with, adult peers. Now, the organization is working with Warren County to get youth in need connected to more than just a peer.

The Warren County Career Mentoring Program held its first session last month. Open to youth ages 14 and up, the eight-week after-school program connects students with businesses that have agreed to create a space for on-the-job learning. Staff are serving as mentors at the office of Assemblyman Matthew Simpson, Romeo Toyota, and Sawyer Family Chiropractic, to name a few.

“The program shows the youth that they are more than just kids and that they matter,” sais Amanda Parker, owner of A Pretty Parlor – another business mentoring students. “Being involved showed them how to be a part of something. In the short time of six weeks, we saw a difference in Jordyn, the young woman who we worked with, we saw her develop and mature. We are so happy to be a part of a program that helps our youth girls, who can be misunderstood.”

The connections made can extend past job skills. A staff member at A Pretty Parlor has since come to Big Brothers Big Sisters, and signed up to be the Big Sister of a student who came to train there.

Warren County says that the program is a valuable way to keep under-resourced youth out of the justice system, and into more constructive futures. Goals for students in the program include building skills in the here and now, and improving students’ ability to build other skills in the future.

“Providing youth and young adults with safe opportunities to learn valuable skills, and engaging them in the workforce with a supportive worksite mentor, affords them with the structure and support they may require to be job ready,” said Warren County Workforce Development Director Liza Ochsendorf. “By showing youth they have talents as well as options, we are helping them to develop positive, meaningful and tangible pathways to their future.”

Those interested in signing up a teenager to take part in the program can reach Bill Moon at Big Brothers Big Sisters at (518) 798-1010.