I've been mentoring children, teens, and some adults for 20 plus years now and I receive immense joy from being able to do it. It's something that I've never been paid to do or have ever sought payment to do. It just comes natural for me and for that I'm thankful. It's one of the things I get the opportunity to do that brings joy and fulfillment to my life. As the years have past, I've gotten wiser in knowing that life is finite and as human beings, it's our responsibility to seek, I mean truly seek those things that bring us joy and fulfillment before our time is up and we go on to meet our creator.
Mentoring to me is about helping someone that may not have the same experiences, education, relationships, opportunities, knowledge, understanding, or skill set as you do. As a mentor it's your duty, and hopefully your passion, to provide guidance, assistance, inspiration, motivation, & advice to help progress your mentee's lives down a positive path in an effort to help them learn, grow, and hopefully avoid or swiftly conquer some of the challenges that make up life's experience.
Roughly 25% or 20 million children live in single parented households in the US. I was one of those children. My mother worked two or three jobs to take care of me, my sister, and my foster brother. As a youngster growing up, she put me in several mentoring programs, A.G. Gaston Boy's Club, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and Cub Scouts. She was determine for me to be around positive role models and she understood that because I was a young man, my experiences would differ from hers and she wanted me to obtain a positive male's perspective and influence.
Fast forward to today. I've been blessed by God to become that positive male role model from several of those positive influences from my childhood along with some of the gentlemen I follow today. My mentors help me to expand the vision for my life and in some cases provided guidance and experiences that help shape the man I am today.
My ultimate goal for all the young men that have and will come into the Lion Heart Unlimited Mentoring Program is to help them realize how truly special they are, to help build their self-esteem and self-confidence to fulfill the potential that is inside each of them. To help them understand that's is okay not to follow the crowd or give in to peer pressure and that being smart, intelligent, articulate, and having vision and goals is cool!
I'll summarize with one of my favorite quotes taken from the movie Red Tails, the story about the Tuskegee Airmen....
"Nothing's difficult, Everything's a challenge, Through Adversity to the Stars, From the last plane to the last bullet, to the last minute, to the last man, We Fight, We Fight, We Fight, We Fight!
And that is what we all should be doing, fighting for and to fulfill the potential that was given to each of us by our creator!