Mass Mentoring Partnership Hits TD Garden

BOSTON – Tuesday was a day of firsts for many children as the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation teamed with the Mass Mentoring Partnership and the Highland Street Foundation for Mentoring Night at TD Garden. More than 100 tickets were donated for the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers from season ticket holders, Celtics players and the Highland Street Foundation for mentors and mentees.

“This is so exciting,” said one mentee as he entered the Garden.

Due to the generosity of the Highland Street Foundation, which had purchased 100 tickets for the game, mentors and mentees also each received a T-shirt, Celtics hat, cinch bag and a $25 gift card in order to purchase food. Because of Highland Street, there were excited children proudly donning the T-shirts and hats during the game. The T-shirts were designed with the Highland Hoops logo on front and the Mass Mentoring Program logo on the back in hopes that other fans would take interest and inquire about mass mentoring. The cinch bags were a nice component because they were able to hold all of the gifts. Perhaps the nicest item was the gift card for food, as mentors and mentees didn’t have to worry about costs for the game and could enjoy the night without being hungry.

In addition, donated selected mentees participated in the High Five Kids Tunnel, the Hero Among Us recipient was a mentor and the Ball Kid experience was awarded to mentee, Jonathan.

Jonathan had been paired with his mentor Lynne for two years. “She’s meant so much to me,” said Jonathan. “This program has been the best thing that ever happened!”

Lynne called the Celtics office early Tuesday morning. “Jonathan has been calling me every five minutes because he’s so excited,” she said. “How early can we come to the game because I don’t think he can wait any longer!”

Jonathan, an avid Celtics fan and basketball player himself, could not have been more thankful when he arrived at the Celtics offices two hours prior to the game with Lynne and his friend, Perry. After a tour of the office, the group headed over to the arena so that Jonathan could start his job as Ball Kid for the night.

“Thank you so much for this opportunity,” exclaimed Jonathan. “I’ve watched these guys on TV since I was little and it’s awesome to be here now!”

While Jonathan was rebounding for the team, other mentees participated in the High Five Tunnel before the game began. The smiles on their faces said it all as Celtics players ran through their line giving high fives. All of the mentors and mentees settled into their seats to watch the Celtics handedly defeat the Cavaliers, 112-95. The importance of mentoring and the effect it has on youth was displayed in the second quarter during the second timeout.

Dolores, a mentor to Vanessa, was honored as the Hero Among Us. She had dedicated countless hours to mentoring and had been with Vanessa for three years. During that time, Vanessa experienced new things that she might never have done like going to the New York Stock Exchange. Dolores’ guidance and friendship has had a positive influence in Vanessa’s life.

Like all of the mentors that attended the game Tuesday night, words cannot express how much they have meant to their mentees. Yet there are still 3,000 children in Massachusetts on a waiting list for mentors. It’s a life-altering experience and significantly impacts the lives of today’s youth.

The Celtics have worked with the Mass Mentoring Program since 2007 to enable mentors and mentees to attend basketball games. Season tickets holders, Celtics players and staff donate their tickets for this wonderful cause. A total of 3,500 tickets amounting to nearly half a million dollars have been donated to this point.

To learn more about mentoring, visit massmentors.org