Dr. Rolanda L. Ward, endowed faculty director of Niagara University’s Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity, and Mission, has been appointed to the board of directors at MENTOR New York, an organization that advocates for quality mentoring opportunities and serves as a resource to help its partners start, manage, and improve their programs and initiatives. Dr. Ward also serves as an associate professor of social work and director of the university’s Vincentian Scholars Program.

“MENTOR New York has established a sound track record of supporting youth and young adult serving institutions across the Empire State,” Dr. Ward said. “I am humbled to join this strong team and to help strengthen MENTOR New York’s footprint in Western New York.”

Dr. Ward earned her doctorate in social work and sociology from Boston University. As a macro-trained practitioner and a research scholar, she has been the lead investigator or research associate on a number of studies focusing on society's most vulnerable, underserved, and proven-risk populations. In addition, Dr. Ward has led projects in communities and within organizations that shift status quo outcomes. Additionally, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Ward is leading and serving on several task forces in order to advocate for community needs. These task forces include: The Niagara Falls Health Equity Task Force, the New York State Health Equity Task Force: Western New York Vaccine Hub, and the Western New York Research Collaborative.

“We are excited to have Dr. Rolanda Ward join our board,” said Brenda Jimenez, MENTOR New York’s CEO. “We look forward to Dr. Ward providing her expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion and experience in youth mentoring to guide our program services agenda.”

For over 25 years, MENTOR New York has leveraged its expertise in relationship development and program management to advise and train its partners about how to start, manage, and improve quality youth-facing programs. MENTOR New York’s mission is to fuel the quality and quantity of mentoring relationships for young people and close the mentoring gap in New York. Today, MENTOR NY conducts approximately 100 separate training seminars each year and trains approximately 1,500 new mentors annually. The organization creates approximately 75 new programs each year and supports approximately 850 existing programs serving more than 80,000 young people across New York state.

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