Making the World a Better Place: A Mentor’s Perspective
By Gavin Haque, Assessment Specialist and Trainer at Kaplan Early Learning Center and Winning Futures Mentor
I’ve had a very successful career over the last forty years in sales and management for both non-profit and for-profit businesses. But I still felt like something was missing.
A friend who was a mentor with Winning Futures suggested I check them out, and I’m so glad he did. I became a volunteer mentor in 2016 at Community High School in Sterling Heights, and it has been an incredibly fulfilling experience.
The organization recruits local business professionals to serve as volunteer mentors, then matches mentors to students based on how they may relate to each other. When I look at my students, I see myself and can remind them that I’ve been where they are. I help young men learn important skills like planning and prioritizing tasks, setting goals, resume writing, job interview skills, and more.
In the conversations I have with my students, I tell them “You get out what you put in,” and I can see how they receive that message. They make plans in ways I never did at their age and demonstrate how they balance school, home, part-time jobs, and making plans for their futures. Whenever we get closer to the end of the school year, I can see my students becoming more reflective, confident, and proactive in their endeavors.
The program is full of energy and fun for the students. Winning Futures staff provides training and on-site support at every session. The lessons are interactive and thoughtful.
Some students don’t like to share their feelings, but one sent me this message over winter break. “Thank you for volunteering your time to make sure that all of us kids stayed on the right track!” Winning Futures students are thriving because of the contributions of mentors along with those of parents, teachers, and Winning Futures staff.
When I was a teenager, I could’ve greatly benefitted from having another adult besides my family and teachers to help me “work through things.” Without Winning Futures supporters, these young people would not have such a great opportunity so early in their lives. I truly believe that we are working together to make the world a better place.
Winning Futures is actively recruiting mentors for the 2019-20 academic year. Applications are due by July 30, 2019. Apply online or contact Kathy Morgan at Kathy@WinningFutures.org or 586-698-4387 for more information.