Cecile Edleman is a believer: Being a youth mentor is "a lot of responsibility," she said, and she's happily accepted the challenge.
The junior at Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills is one of 16 teens nationwide recently selected to mentor a younger peer through the Dream, Believe, Know It Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing educational programs and seminars to youth.
Edleman, 16, is paired with an 11-year-old girl in New Jersey. She will give encouragement and guidance to the child by phone until the foundation's annual conference in July.
"My role would be to be a role model and build a strong relationship with her, so that she can come to me if she ever feels like she can't talk to anyone else," she said.
This is Dream, Believe, Know It's first group of youth mentors, Edleman said, and they were hand-picked by foundation founder Daryl Washington because of their involvement in the organization.
Edleman said she has participated in the foundation's conference and various fundraisers for several years and currently is introducing its anti-bullying campaign to her school.
Edleman, a Girl Scout, also plays piano and is part of her school's track team, Key Club and Peers AIDS Educators.