N.B. nonprofit develops mentors

Manny DeBrito has coached basketball for about 15 years, and the discipline has taught him what it means to be a mentor.

It also helped him start A’s b4, a New Bedford-based nonprofit that received its designation in July.

“I was always big on grades and behavior,” DeBrito said. “I held my players accountable and basketball was that tool to help motivate them.”

The nonprofit follows four principles: Holistic development, community involvement, peer mentorship and youth empowerment. The idea, DeBrito explained, is to provide programming and to teach others how to become peer mentors.

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“We don’t want to be another teacher or parent,” he said. “We need to have a bridge, so we’re mentoring the mentors. We’re supervising the whole thing, but giving these kids (mostly recent or soon-to-be high school and college graduates) internship opportunities.

“There are so many talented people and kids here that need programs, so we’re trying to provide some of that,” he said.

Eli Sherman is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Sherman@PBN.com, or follow him on Twitter @Eli_Sherman.

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