Since 1998, the John Andrew Mazie Memorial Foundation has paired adult volunteer mentors with at-risk Framingham High School students.

"We place 20 sophomores in the fall and another 20 in the spring," said Lauren Kracoff, director of the Mazie Mentoring Program. "No one makes it in America without some kind of mentor. For at-risk kids facing steep odds against success, finding mentors is not only helpful but essential. They can't make it all by themselves."

Over 14 years, the program has helped 440 teenagers who were referred by Framingham High staff based on their needs. The program has been so successful that a second program was added in 2010 at Waltham High School.

Mentors are asked for a year's commitment, which includes a minimum of eight hours per month with mentees. Potential mentors must complete an application, have their references checked, and complete a CORI screening form.
"Mentees set goals around community service, their education and their career options," said Kracoff, "and the Foundation presents achievement awards, which include a laptop computer for successful completion of the one-year goal. In addition, $2,000 scholarships are awarded to mentees upon high school graduation."

As Kracoff pointed out, a dozen Natick Soldier Systems Center employees have served as mentors over the years. She is always looking to add more.

"I really just welcome more (NSSC) employees as mentors," Kracoff said. "They have been terrific, conscientious and caring individuals who really understand the value of spending time with a young person -- how it can change both their lives for the better. Just eight simple hours a month does it. I really hope to get more soon."

The John Andrew Mazie Memorial Foundation is named for a young man killed by a drunk driver in 1997 at age 26.

"John was an extraordinary young man who spent his adult life motivating young people to strive to become the best they could be," Kracoff said. "He was particularly concerned with youth who, for reasons beyond their control, face steep odds against success."

For more information about the Mazie Mentoring Program, contact Lauren Kracoff at (508) 620-4963, ext. 27545, by e-mail at, or visit

Page last updated Thu February 23rd, 2012 at 07:58