From the moment Brittain Ezzes met Breakthrough New York students at the BTNY 3rd Annual Gala, she knew she wanted to support them.
“I found it incredibly compelling to listen to such articulate and motivated young people,” says Brittain, the Vice President at Cramer Rosenthal McGlynn, LLC. “I quickly learned how rewarding Breakthrough is for them.”
In 2015, when BTNY launched the “Sponsor a Student” program, which gives donors the opportunity to support – and get to know – one student on the journey to college graduation, Brittain jumped at the opportunity to get involved.
She was paired with 8th-grader Anu, who attends BTNY programming at The Town School. Ever since, the two have corresponded through letters about everything from academics to Brittain’s love of animals and Anu’s passion for music.
“I’m a huge proponent of mentoring,” Brittain says. “At Breakthrough, Anu has access to a lot of mentors. I just want to be one more person she can look to as a role model.”
Recently, Brittain and Anu got to meet in person at The Town School. Anu led a tour of the BTNY classes and talked about the program. “At Breakthrough, I learn so many new things and I love meeting a diverse group of people from different communities,” she told her sponsor.
They discussed the guidance that BTNY has given Anu during her school application process. “Breakthrough showed me that there are other great options for high school, not just the Specialized Schools,” explained Anu, whose dream school is Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School (LREI).
Anu, who is considering becoming an entrepreneur, had many questions for her sponsor about college and business. Brittain, who majored in Russian Studies and International Relations at Brown University, recommended that Anu take a wide range of classes and participate in extra-curricular activities to figure out her interests.
“Anu is an impressive young woman,” says Brittain. “She has the ability to make a great contribution to our society. Why wouldn’t we want to do everything we can to cultivate that and give her a shot?”