Student Looks to Expand Mentor Program

Student Looks to Expand Mentor Program

Photo Courtesy of NYC Mentors

Michael and Jonathan Manta

By Forum Staff

Howard Beach high school student, Michael Manta, last year established his own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization aimed at getting fellow students to mentor middle schoolers on the high school application process and help with test prep.

And with the aid of an area elected official, Manta hopes to expand his program.

Manta is the co-founder and CEO of He created the program in 2018 as a way to help his younger brother, Jonathan, navigate the high school admission process and expand his search outside of the local high schools. With Michael’s help, Jonathan was eventually accepted to The McCallie School in Tennessee.

Manta’s partners high-achieving underserved middle school students with high school students who are looking to give back and help these middle schoolers with the high school admission process, give them advice, and help with test prep, because many underserved middle school students do not have access to those resources, Manta noted.

“I really wanted to do something to give back,” he added. “There’s not really a program in New York City that has this type of mentorship. Having high school students working directly with middle school students, it gives them an older brother or older sister to get advice from. You don’t get that from just tutoring and test prep.”

Manta is now looking to grow his organization and has reached out to State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) for help.

“When Michael came to me with his program and told me he is looking to expand the number of students he would be able to reach, I knew I had to help,” said Addabbo, a member of the Senate Education Committee. “I have a daughter in high school and another in middle school, and I know how much of a resource my oldest will be for when my youngest daughter makes that jump into high school. I would love to be able to help students who may not have anyone to help them figure out the complex application process, and what other things a student may need to get into the high school they want—like joining clubs and extracurricular activities.”

Currently, can pair only 25 middle school students with high school mentors. They are looking for grants that will help them expand the student pool, but also keep the quality of mentorship. Manta is also looking to sign up additional mentors and mentees.

Manta also announced that will have a table at the 19th Annual Chess-in-the-Park Rapid Open on Saturday, Sept. 14 at the Bethesda Fountain, Central Park and 72nd Street. will be at the event from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. signing up high school and middle school students who wish to participate in the program.

Anyone who is interested in learning more about the program or who may want to volunteer to be a mentor can find more information at, or can reach out via email at


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