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Why Career Mentors Matter

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Our Workforce Prep Program is designed to support teenagers and for good reason. Adolescence is a time when youth search for a sense of identity, and the belief that they can accomplish their chosen dreams.  That self-belief touches every aspect of a young person’s life and can determine whether they emerge as motivated, productive, and optimistic young adults.

You are going to hear from two of our alumni that emphatically believe our program altered the course of their lives.

That is why career mentors matter.

Dipita Das

Dipita’s family immigrated to the U.S. in 2000. As the only fluent English-speaking person at home, she struggled to balance the responsibilities at home along with high school academics and making plans to go to college. She had big dreams for her future but didn’t know where to begin to make them a reality.

Dipita entered our program in twelfth grade. That’s where she met her career mentor, Sharon vanSpronsen, marketing coordinator at Phillips Service Industries, who introduced her to SMART goals.

“Having a clear vision of the person you want to become in 2, 3, and 5 years helped me prioritize my time, thoughts, and goals. I no longer felt overwhelmed and could see my path forward,” said Dipita.

After graduating from high school, Dipita became the first in her family to attend college. She enrolled at the University of Michigan and, in 2021, earned a bachelor’s degree in gender and health. She now has plans to achieve a master’s degree in higher education.

When I asked Dipita what her career mentor meant to her, she paused and thoughtfully replied “I learned from Sharon that it’s the small things you do every day that mean something big to someone else. She would send me thoughtful cards with inspirational messages at just the perfect time. She offered me support I didn’t even know I needed.”

That is why career mentors matter.

Jose House

Jose with his mentor, Josh Berg, on his wedding day.

Jose entered our program in tenth grade and was career mentored by Josh Berg, director of innovation ventures at Magna. With help from Josh, Jose learned about goal setting which provided structure and vision for his future.

“Josh was instrumental in my life. He saw in me what I couldn’t see in myself yet and pushed me until I had no choice but to believe it myself,” said Jose.

After graduating from high school, Jose continued with us in our new College Success Mentoring Program while attending Eastern Michigan University.  Josh continued to be his career mentor and through his network was able to connect Jose with an internship at Amazon.

After graduating from EMU with a finance degree, Jose got married and moved to Dallas where he is currently working as an area manager with Amazon and oversees 50+ employees.

He enjoys the people development aspect of his job and models his career mentor by eliciting change in others through his example and the quality of his conversations.

“I believe Josh will be in my life for the long haul. He was the first person who didn’t look like me but believed in me, and I was able to learn and thrive from our differences,” said Jose.

The role of a mentor doesn’t replace the support needed from our families, but sometimes someone unexpected comes into your life and changes it forever.

 

That is why career mentors matter.

90 percent of our students are people of color, and all want to be successful. With a little help and coaching, they will develop the skills and knowledge they need to achieve the life they dream of!

Apply to become a career mentor this Fall and learn for yourself why mentors matter. The deadline to apply is July 31, 2022. Learn more by contacting Shirley Russell at Shirley@WinningFutures.org or 586-945-8092.