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What a Mentor Means to a Kid

January is National Mentoring Month, so it is a good time to highlight how important it is for at-risk youth to establish close relationships with adults who are not their parents or guardians. At our 2017 Annual Award Gala, Wynter, a 15-year-old girl in our Family Preventive Services program, spoke about how mentors have help her improve her reading, try new things, and be the best she can be.

“At first, I thought going to mentoring was uncool, but my mom really wanted me to go. In the beginning, I was very shy with the mentors, but little by little, I opened up. Now, I LOVE going to mentoring. I never miss it. The mentors really helped me build my confidence. We do the mentoring as a group so you get to know everyone.

“One thing they have really helped me with is my academics—especially reading. Reading has always been a little tough for me, but the mentors helped me focus. They give me intense, personal attention that I don’t get in school. We sat down together and made a list of techniques—like read out loud, don’t skip the hard words, and don’t go too fast—so I could improve and understand everything. They put pressure on me in a good way and make me want to do it for myself. Thanks to mentoring, I’ve gone up three more reading levels. I know now that I will make it to level Z—where I am supposed to be—by the end of the year.

“My mentors are like another family to me. I am so grateful to have them in my life.”

Pictured above: Wynter with actor and comedian Chuck Nice at the 2017 Annual Gala Dinner.