Dime In The Community Profile: Megan Hickey

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Mentoring Leaders for Tomorrow

Dime employees represent a diverse group of individuals who each bring unique skill sets, business experience and cultural backgrounds to help create a productive workplace environment and customer service atmosphere of excellence. In fact, our staff is one of the strengths of Dime Community Bank and a competitive advantage. 

While we may observe daily the skills and talents of our coworkers in their area of responsibility, there are many individuals at Dime who also possess talents that are displayed outside the workplace.

For Megan Hickey, Assistant Vice President and Financial Reporting Manager, Accounting, these talents extend to mentoring and leadership. At present, Megan serves as the Board President for The Friends of Leadership and Public Service High School. This unique nonprofit organization of volunteers actively supports Leadership and Public Service High School.

“Our Board of Directors consists of members who share an altruistic vision of helping students who otherwise lack the kinds of educational and cultural opportunities that most high school students experience,” noted Megan. “As a result, it helps them get the education, mentoring and support they need to pursue a college education.”

A School Dedicated to Leadership and Public Service

In 1993, Leadership and Public Service High School (LPSHS) was founded through an initiative by Syracuse University alumni from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the New York City Department of Education.

“Syracuse University helped found the school during a time when New York City was opening schools with special themes and focus,” recalled Megan. “In this case, they created a public high school with a focus on public affairs, community service and leadership.”

Leadership and Public Service High School focuses on providing a strong and comprehensive education to a population of students who are mainly disadvantaged and require academic help and guidance. “Many of our students come from families with parents who have not achieved a college education and who often speak a language at home other than
English”, stated Megan.

A Call to Mentor

At the same time the LPSHS was founded, Syracuse University alumni started a mentoring program entitled SUMMA (Syracuse University Mentor Mentee Alliance). SUMMA is a one-to-one mentoring program, which aims to form relationships between young, successful college graduates, mainly from Syracuse University, who work and live in the New York City area, and LPSHS students.

The Friends Holiday Toy Drive

In 2007, Megan graduated from Syracuse University with degrees in Accounting from the Whitman School of Management and International Relations from the Maxwell School in the College of Arts and Sciences. After pursuing and building a business career during the course of five years, Megan felt the call to do something beyond her daily life’s routine.

“Seven years ago, I applied to be a mentor after receiving an email from Syracuse University, which described the SUMMA program,” recalled Megan. “I was at a place in my life where I wanted to do something else beyond my work and social life,” explained Megan. “I liked the idea of connecting with high school kids,” she added. “You can see the direct impact with helping them prepare for college and being an adult influence and additional role model in their lives.”

SUMMA Mentoring Program

The SUMMA mentoring program, which is coordinated along with the New York City Department of Education, is the largest, longest running mentoring program of its kind in New York City.

“The majority of students in the program live below the poverty line, including some who are homeless,” explained Megan. “We have students who commute in from Brooklyn, Queens and other boroughs within New York City who travel as much as two hours to get to school.”

The SUMMA mentoring program pairs mentors and mentees who work together throughout the high school career of students. A thorough application, screening and training process takes place to ensure both mentors and mentees are committed and prepared for the program. The mentoring pairs then collaborate on activities to help enhance student academic performance, develop college preparation and provide job coaching. Most of all, they enjoy sponsored events that promote fun and mentor mentee relationship building.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect at my first training session,” recalled Megan. “We all attended a nice dinner session, but we had no control over who we would mentor,” she added. “The coordinators matched us up primarily by where we live.”

“When I met my first mentee, we had a good initial connection,” noted Megan. “I mentored that student for three years and we developed a good friendship,” she added. “It was rewarding to see how well she did in school and how I played a part in helping her go to college.” Megan and her first mentee received the organization’s Top Mentor/Mentee Pair award to honor their dedication to the program. Over the course of six years, Megan worked with three mentees. “I’m proud to note that everyone in the SUMMA program has graduated high school and almost all went on to attend college,” exclaimed Megan.

Providing Leadership through The Friends Board

“Four years ago, I joined The Friends of Leadership Board and in June 2018, I was appointed Board President” stated Megan. The Board consists of the school’s Principal, Assistant Principal, three Teacher Liaisons, Board Members and the Board President. As Board President, Megan leads monthly board meetings.

“My biggest experience is overseeing the interviews, evaluation and awarding of Summer College scholarships for students who will attend the Summer College program at Syracuse University,” exclaimed Megan. In the past, we have funded scholarships for 50 to 100 students to attend the Summer College program. “It’s a great opportunity,” said Megan. “This is their chance to get out of the City, attend a well-known university and see how they fit in a college environment.” Summer College is a six-week program in which high school students take two courses on campus at Syracuse University and earn six transferable college credits.

According to Megan, the biggest expenditures for The Friends Board are the summer college program scholarships and the mentoring program bi-monthly activity events.

As Board President, Megan will serve a term of three years. “My first focus is to get the word out about the SUMMA program,” noted Megan. “Many Syracuse University alumni in New York City do not even know we exist.” Her next area of focus will be to increase the number of students participating in the mentoring program and the Summer College program. “Last year, we were able to fund sending eight students to Summer College,” she noted. “This year, we plan to fund 12 students.” 

The Friends of Leadership and Public Service High School

The Friends of Leadership and Public Service High School is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization, dedicated to supporting and funding programs and initiatives such as the SUMMA Mentoring Program; Summer College Scholarships; Academic, Cultural and Social Events for students; College Awareness Trips; and Assistance to Homeless and Foster Care students. Visit friendsofleadershipnyc.org for more information.

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