I had the privilege of meeting with one of our most dynamic career mentor-student pairings, Aubin Williams and Aidan Watkins. Williams is the president and CEO of Ekklesia Building Corporation, a general contracting, program management, and construction company. Watkins is a 19-year-old full-time student at Wayne County Community College studying business administration and participates in our College Success Mentoring program.
Aidan started our program in 10th grade at Harper Woods High School. His first mentor was Chavell Croford, a director at Ready Set Media. Chavell became a role model to Aidan, providing guidance and support in helping him improve his grades and explore career paths. Aidan was lucky to find yet another role model in Aubin Williams.
The two men met in August 2021, a few months after Aidan graduated from high school. “In our first Zoom meeting there was an instant connection with a lot of laughs,” said Aidan.
The real strength of their connection began later in March 2022. The stress of work, school, and a recent break-up began to pile up on Aidan. At first, he didn’t know who to talk to but finally got the courage to call Aubin.
In the phone call, Aubin reminded him of who he was: a strong, wise, and hard-working young man who would figure things out. “Aubin told me a lot about the real world. Slowly, our mentor-to-student talks turned into man-to-man conversations.”
It wasn’t long before Aubin became a prominent male figure in Aidan’s life due to their shared experiences and struggles. “It’s a blessing to become a Black male career mentor,” said Aidan, “and it’s a bigger blessing to have one.”
Aidan’s appreciation for having a Black male mentor is not unusual. 90 percent of our students are people of color and while all want a career mentor, they often ask for career mentors who share their ethnicity.
Aidan and Aubin’s relationship embodies the vision and intention we have for all our mentor-student relationships. Aubin’s inspiring and encouraging spirit is what we’re seeking while currently recruiting Black male career mentors.
“I believe that all responsible Black men should mentor at least one young Black male,” said Williams, “Because if we don’t do it, who will?” Aubin’s value and passion for mentorship sparked way before joining Winning Futures. He mentored people in his church and community for years. “This is what I’m supposed to do,” he said, “God blessed me so I can bless someone else.”
When Aidan was asked what he would say to Black men considering mentorship, he responded, “This is a joyful learning experience. You get the opportunity to help and guide somebody to become successful. It’s a way to give back to the youth and make the world a better place; we need more people who are willing to do that.”
Black male mentors are essential to moving our students forward and are an asset to our program. Learn more about our program here.