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I have been a mentor with Winning Futures for four years. Thanks to the outstanding framework of the Winning Futures curriculum, I have made a difference in the lives of over a dozen young men. Winning Futures has allowed me to witness the positive effects the lessons have on students. These same lessons have also impacted my life.

As a mentor, I have worked with some very driven students, some that needed guidance and support, and some, that at the start of the program, seemed to not want to be there at all. The positive effects of the curriculum on all of them has been clear. The students who appeared to have the least interest in the program at the beginning have impressed me the most and have reminded me of the great value of this program. I will not soon forget one young man who was often disconnected. Throughout the program, I spent extra time encouraging him to be a team player and keeping him focused on his goals. It was tough, and for a while, I wasn’t quite sure that I was getting through to him. At the end of the program, this same young man thanked me for helping him get a part-time job. I was floored. Clearly, the program had helped him recognize his potential.

I appreciate the positive effect Winning Futures has had on me. I have learned to be more patient. The boys who I thought would get the least out of this program were those that had the greatest transformation. I have also learned to appreciate my blessings. Getting to know students who come from more humble backgrounds than I has reminded me how fortunate I am. Winning Futures reinforced, for me, the value of education, planning, and basic professional behavior. The famous tagline, “Attitude is Everything” that we say in each session reminds me how important positivity is for leading a happy, well-adjusted life. I am thankful to be a part of this program that allows me to make a difference in our youth.

Mark Ware, FCA