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 Mamaroneck are:
Linda Bello - Linda knows she has a bright future. She looks forward to helping her community by pursuing a career in teaching.
Zoe Colon - Executive Director, Hispanic Resource Center
Sara Da Costa – Sara is tri-lingual and wants to have a career that changes the world.
Cheryl Greenberg - Director of Development, My Sister’s Place
Alexa Fornes - Alexa is actively involved with her community and is open to finding a career that she is passionate about.
Maria Diaz - Owner, Eye Level Learning Center
Jazsmine Kerr – Jazsmine dreams of starting an organization called “The Endless Closet.” Their mission will be to redistribute clothes to people in need.
Deborah Blatt - Program Coordinator, Sharing Shelf
Barbara Kruljac – Barbara is determined to join an ROTC program in college and ultimately serve in the United States Navy.
Lisa Swanson – Coordinator, Emergency Operations, Westchester County Department of Social Services
Rosa Lechuga - Rosa looks forward to attending college and studying business. She is focused on being a role model for younger children.
Susan Liddie - Vice President of Information Technology, Avon Products, Inc.
Claudia Lopes – Claudia is currently studying Cosmetology and plans to start her own brand of makeup.
Heather Adessa - CEO, Founder, Lead Makeup Artist, Glo Beauty Bar
Wendy Maldonado - Wendy is determined to be the first person in her family to attend college. She especially loves working with children.
Maria Garzona - Owner, Sweet Teez Candy Shoppe
Jaileen Reyes - Jaileen is passionate about helping people and enjoys art for its therapeutic attributes.
Nancy White - President and Owner, The Flower Bar
Odalys Ruano – Odalys describes herself as determined. She enjoys working with different types of people and learning about new cultures.
Edith Barilla - Franchise Owner, Minuteman Press, Mamaroneck
Jacqueline Santizo - Jacqueline is proud to be first in her family to attend college. She wants to be part of something that is memorable and life changing.
Jirandy Martinez - Programs Manager, Hispanic Resource Center
Luna Slater – Luna’s hobbies include writing poetry and drawing. She enjoys exploring her unique style in art class.
Diane Alexander - Founder and Owner, Alexander Architecture, PLLC
(List of mentors and mentees and their comments were provided.)