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  • Thrive Detroit

Mentoring is a Two-Way Reward

Only three sessions remain in this school year with my Cass Tech Winning Futures mentees, and I am so proud of what my Successful Young Ladies have accomplished.  Just think, at this time last year, the doors of Hunter House closed, and my attempts at providing housing and support to young ladies who were transitioning from foster care into self-sufficiency came to an unexpected halt. I wanted to continue coaching and mentoring, so I began working with young ladies at Covenant House. In the fall of last year, I was reminded of Winning Futures by one of my dear friends and Mentor of the Year, Kimle Mitchell. My first school year as a Winning Futures Mentor has been very rewarding.

Every Thursday, I get to hang out for an hour with future experts in forensic taxes, sports medicine, and people.  This week when our facilitator asked if anyone had any good news to share, one of my mentees was so excited about her mentoring sessions that she popped out of her seat and talked about how it was the highlight of her week. This made me feel so good. Graduation is just around the corner, and while most of the students were happy about the school year ending, this young lady was thrilled to have documented her short-term, three-year, and five-year goals.

This is the first year our mentor program was run at Cass Tech, so mentors were limited to working with the students inside the school. I hope that next school year, parents will be allowed to approve outside-school interaction so I can invite my students to join Team Illumination while they are in the twelfth grade. Team Illumination is a group of young adults that I teach how to do pamper parties while they earn money and rewards. I teach them basic business/entrepreneurial skills that will serve them throughout their lives. My first job was at Parisian when I was fourteen years of age. Because of that first work experience, I purchased my first car at sixteen and rented my first apartment at age eighteen. I know young adults want to be more engaged and in control of their lives, but without proper life skills, success is not likely.

I am a forty-eight year old single woman with no children, and becoming a Winning Futures mentor is probably the best decision I made all year. Participating in a very organized and safe program which allows me to coach and support future leaders in my community is something I am extremely proud of and that I encourage others to consider as well. In fact, I invite you to be my guest at our next Inspiring Hope Breakfast in June.

By: Versandra Kennebrew

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