The Board Votes for Mentorship

The WCBNY Board of Directors met following the member meeting on May 20th. Six members were present at the live meeting, two others joined via Zoom, and one was excused. It was great to be in-person, or at least mostly-so. And the Board took a very significant step at this meeting that deserves comment.

The Board voted unanimously to create a task force, chaired by Martin Cahill, to create a mentoring program for on-boarding new and prospective members.

There was a lot of very thoughtful discussion around how this will look, why it is necessary, what we hope to accomplish, etc. Since our meetings are open for guests to listen in, I think I can comment a bit further without getting too far ahead of the task force.

Even though this idea has been floated in the past, the impetus for this specific board action was a comment made by one of the Coffee Club organizers at their recent live event. That comment struck a nerve. And when the idea was formalized at the board meeting, most of the board members seemed quite willing to let themselves be carried back down memory lane to when they first lost their vision, when they first joined the WCBNY, etc. And the consensus seems to be that we’d like to create the program that we wish we’d have had back then.

Several members shared their stories from the early days. Like most people, we found those early days of vision loss, disability, etc to be quite frightening and overwhelming. I shared how funny it is looking back now to the day Martin and I were walking down Hamilton Avenue, on our way to the old location of the State Commission, talking about whether or not we should join that crazy bunch from the Westchester Council.

Of course, we’re glad we joined. And we all feel that we have a lot to offer to folks who are going through what we went through. And perhaps this mentoring program will be an invaluable tool in accomplishing that.

From here, Martin has to put together a task force, and they have to bring their proposals back to the board. So there will be more information circulating on this issue in the days and weeks ahead. Stay tuned for those exciting updates.

Members who are interested in serving on the task force should contact Martin directly. We haven’t appointed anyone or asked anyone to serve, because we want the task force members to be committed enough and passionate enough that they will take action themselves to get involved.

It should also be pointed out that we’ll need members to serve on the task force, organizing the program, and we’ll need members to serve as mentors, once the program starts. Those can be the same people, but they don’t have to be. We’ll need more mentors than task force members. And it is perfectly fine for any individual to serve where their talents and interests are most effective.

This is a very exciting time in the life of our organization. And that is owing to the fact that we have an opportunity, perhaps like never before, to have an exciting impact on the lives of our members, both new and old.