Woman of Distinction
Sen. Thomas Morahan, R-New City, announced that Penny Jennings, the founder of Adults Caring For Teens, Inc., has been named a 2008 New York State “Woman of Distinction.”
Jennings, a Pomona resident who runs her ACT Inc. mentoring program from the Nyack Center, deserves that and other accolades. She has taken an idea — to help at-risk teens find their way through mentoring — and created an effective agency that not only provides older teens much-needed mentors, but runs Girls Circle and Boys Council programs in the county.
Mentoring programs, like ACT and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rockland County, provide real connections, and roadmaps for young people trying to figure out life, often when they face all kinds of hurdles.
Jennings became interested in mentoring as she earned her master’s in social policy. She’s now pursuing a Ph.D. in Law and Policy and Northeastern University as she continues to run ACT and expand its programs. Every time I see Penny, I hear about more ideas, more kids she’s trying to find just the right mentor for, and her concern that there’s more need that isn’t being filled. Her commitment, her drive, her optimism is impressive. Rockland families (and residents of the entire Lower Hudson Valley) are lucky they have someone like Penny Jennings so committed to helping young people meet their potential.
Here’s a little insight into what makes Penny Jennings so special. Here’s a quote from a December 2007 Editorial Board interview, in which she explains that mentoring is a gift for all participants:
“A farmer, when they sow a seed and then they see a harvest, what joy … For every hour, minute spent with a child, (mentors) can see the improvements . . . the reward is you see the fruits of your labor.”