LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- Nicole Sheindlin developed "Her Honor Mentoring" to give high school girls an opportunity to work with female professionals in a position of power, which was inspired by her relationship with her mother.
Sheindlin's mother is the world famous Judge Judy, who sponsors the program along with Patricia Lanza of the Lanza Family Foundation. When Sheindlin, of Larchmont, was in law school in Manhattan, she would visit her mother's courtroom after school.
"It was a great experience of learning in the classroom and then watching what I learned put into practice," said Sheindlin, whose mother was the supervising judge of the family court in New York City at the time. "It was that experience that I took and structured the program after."
Her Honor Mentoring began in 2006 at Mamaroneck High School with eight students. Today, it places high school seniors from five Westchester high schools in year-long apprenticeships with local businesswomen. In addition to Mamaroneck, the other participating high schools include Nellie Thornton High School, Mount Vernon High School, White Plains High School and Saunders Trades and Technical High School in Yonkers.
"The program has grown exponentially, because I think that young women really do want to be actively involved with role models," Sheindlin said. "I think it's a really unique way for these young women to spend their time in their senior year of high school."
Each high school selects rising seniors in the spring who, Sheindlin said, show "leadership potential." They match each girl with a local businesswoman in a field they're interested in, and they work with them four hours a week.
Additionally, the mentees attend monthly life skills workshops, where they take courses in everything from budgeting money, business attire, professional expectations, healthy relationships, dining etiquette, public speaking and advocacy. Many of the girls selected are the first in their family to go to college, Sheindlin said.
"As our world becomes a more challenging place for young people, I hope that the women who have spent a year with us embrace their future with new confidence and purpose," Judge Judy said.
"Her Honor Mentoring" is administered by the Westchester County Office for Women and the Womens Research and Education Fund.
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