Winning Futures helps students step out of their comfort zones by instilling in them the importance of team work, self-reflection, and vision casting. We spoke with one Winning Futures mentee, Claudia Ware, about how the program has impacted her.
Like many students her age, Claudia faced obstacles in school she once thought to be too difficult to overcome. “I used to be really shy and quiet. I felt like I didn’t fit in with other people.” Claudia, a graduating senior at Cornerstone Health + Technology High School, remembers what she was like in middle and early high school. “I remember being made fun of and bullied a lot, but I would just keep my mouth shut and push through. I never defended myself; instead, I let them say whatever they wanted and tried to ignore it.”
“My Winning Futures mentor, Shar, has helped me increase my self-confidence a lot. She is so energetic, and she makes me want to talk and get out of my comfort zone.” Claudia went on to say that her mentor makes it clear that she is invested in her relationship with their team. “She always wants to be there with us. She takes us on field trips outside of Winning Futures and checks in with us through phone calls and texts. Shar is the best person ever!”
Today, Claudia is the captain of the girls’ basketball team, President of her senior class, an intern at the Lear Corporation, a member of the National Honor Society, and incredibly passionate about community service work. Her new-found leadership can be attributed to her learning how to appreciate all the things that make her different from her peers and channeling those strengths to go for what she wants.
“The most important lesson from Winning Futures that I would pass on to my peers is to learn how to be yourself,” said Claudia. “When I go to Winning Futures, I feel like I can be myself and I can try new things. The assignments we are given help us personalize what we’re learning. We can even use what we learn in Winning Futures outside of the classroom, from exam prep to controlling our attitudes.”
Equipped with an increased level of self-confidence, Claudia plans to study Athletic Training at Michigan State University in Lansing this fall. She hopes to spend her career working with professional athletes, while giving back to her community. Claudia’s long-term dream includes creating lasting opportunities for people living without a home in the Detroit area.