WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. Judge Judy Sheindlin took a break from court proceedings Thursday to help 39 female high school seniors from five Westchester High Schools celebrate the completion of the 2011-2012 "Her Honor Mentoring Program," which she helps fund.
"Her Honor Mentoring," founded in 2006 by her daughter Nicole , of Larchmont, places high school seniors in year-long apprenticeships with local businesswomen.
Thursday, Sheindlin hosted a luncheon at the Larchmont Shore Club to celebrate this year's graduating class of mentees, which include young women from White Plains High School, Mamaroneck High School , Nellie Thornton High School, Mount Vernon High School and Saunders Trades and Technical High School in Yonkers.
"I like to think that this program gives each of our mentees an opportunity, that little extra wonderful beginning, so that they can be the hero of their own story," Sheindlin said in a statement.
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 throughout the school year.
Mentees also attend monthly life skills workshops, where they take courses in everything from budgeting money, public speaking and advocacy. Many of the girls selected are the first in their family to go to college, Sheindlin said.
"I saw first-hand how great this program is, as we had a mentee work in the countys communications office this year," County Executive Robert Astorino said in a statement.
This year, two White Plains High School students worked with the county. Yan Yun Lin worked with the county department of social services' child welfare program and Michelle Gonzalez worked with the county's office for women's Spanish speaking program.
"Her Honor Mentoring" is administered by the Westchester County Office for Women and the Womens Research and Education Fund.
Visit the "Her Honor Mentoring" website for a full list of mentors and their mentees this year.
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