Tell Your Story List

Mentor A Mother

Emily and Kristy, both RNs, started Mentor A Mother in February of 2012. Through our collective experiences working with young pregnant individuals we have witnessed first hand the impact that encouraging, listening, and role modeling can have on a young person's life. We initiated a new mentoring program for young mothers focusing on increasing critical thinking skills, decision making skills, education level, self-esteem and quality of life through one-on-one and group mentoring.

Our mission is to link together young mothers ages 13-25 (and their families) with knowledgeable, experienced mothers who can provide support in education, career, and social responsibility on a one-on-one basis to encourage mentee to continue their education and career and to make informed purposeful decisions about family, career and commitment to community.

Our goals are to provide one-on-one mentoring, group activities, training and development, childcare support/respite, awards and recognition, diversity training, internships, jobs and referrals for appropriate activities, workshops, educational opportunities and community services. We are hoping to match our first relationships July 1, 2012.

Picture is of our 1st Annual Yard Sale which earned the program over $1100! Thanks to many donations and many volunteers!

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Solid Pathways Consulting, LLC

Back in 2000 when then Attorney General Jennifer Granholm spoke at my church at the invitation of then Senior Minister, Marianne Williamson (the internationally known author and speaker) about her plan to recruit '2000 Mentors in the Year 2000', I had no plans to get involved. In fact, I was avoiding mentoring like the plague. Truth be told, I didn't believe I had what it takes or had much to offer - but I hid behind the politically correct 'I'm way too busy" excuse. It took me about two months to succumb to guilt (500 people signed up from my church alone), and another month to attend a mentor orientation. It took an additional five months to finally meet my 11 1/2 year-old mentee Chelsea in April of 2001. Eleven years later, Chelsea and I are still in touch and so happy we found each other so many years ago. Over the years I have also gotten involved in faith-based and school-based mentoring as well. With Chelsea's mentee insight, I have written three books to support the youth mentoring movement - especially women mentoring girls. With our most recent book - Mentor Me! The Complete Guide for Women Who want to Mentor Girls - my goal is to help women make an informed choice about a mentoring opportunity - before they sit down for an interview with a mentoring organization. Plus, I want to make sure they understand what a mentoring relationship involves with a guidebook full of tools, tips and stories that will support them to build their relationship with a girl over time. Mentoring does take a commitment, but it doesn't have to be a 'blind' commitment. I want more mentoring relationships to begin on a solid foundation so both the mentee and mentor have a long and mutually beneficial relationship to grow together. It's all about setting up people for success - which not only includes a child missing a positive adult role model, but also an adult willing to mentor, who needs some 'care and feeding' of their own to be a wonderful youth mentor.

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Project 18 Mentoring

I have been a mentor for almost three years at our local juvenile hall, and visit minors there twice a week. It has been a journey of growth for me to get to know the kids that are in the hall and dealing with the consequences of their actions. I also mentor one girl on the "outside" and have been for almost a year. This person has made tremendous changes in her life, is attending a regular public school, and has not been incarcerated for 8 months--the most progress she has made since the age of 12. She continues to make changes in her life that are positive and keep her moving in the right direction. She is one of the most generous and helpful people I know too. I'm proud to be her mentor.

Most people write off kids who are in trouble, but that is a mistake. If you spend time with these kids, you will find something good about them that you will not forget. As bad as the behaviors can get, there is still good in most people's hearts. Investing in a young person's life is one way of changing the future and leaving a legacy for the world. Make a difference in the world today and become a mentor.
Rosanna Gowan

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University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Dr. Sims-Muhummad Sees Service Learing Course as Opportunity to Advance Mentoring in Louisiana

Peer Mentoring Matters 

Imagine a young girl saying that no one in her family has ever completed high school, let alone gone to college.  Well I did not have to imagine it, because I heard and saw her make this statement and for me that startling reality demonstrated the real need for a mentoring program that could pair college students with high school students.   Mentoring has many meanings for many different people.  Mentoring people under the age of 18 not only has different meanings, but also presents a variety of challenging pathways to the mentoring process.  Additionally, combine mentoring, a service learning project and college students and the dynamics are far beyond any conceivable impact. 

Suffice to say that this mentoring program began as a service-learning project on a university campus - Internship in Community Organizations (ICO) Sociology 391.  The mentoring program/service-learning project entails multiple learning dynamics.  My initial vision was to create an opportunity for College students to learn first hand what it would be like to work within a fluid organization, e.g., an organization that is ever changing and evolving while interacting with inter-changeable clients and partners.  After 3 weeks training, College Students Mentors (CSM) work independently by conducting mentoring sessions and determining the actual makeup and conduct of the sessions.  During the semester, they receive additional training, site feedback, and site guidance about their process toward ICO goals.

Show me a “successful person” and I will almost certainly guarantee that they had a mentor, many of them before the age of 18.  Often times, today, these rare but important (peer) mentoring opportunities are missed.  Yet, arguably, these mentoring opportunities or relationships can mean the difference between success and failure, going to college or going to jail.  Mentoring is a crucial aspect of a young child’s development.  Mentoring between a young child and an older peer can have an even more significant impact.  While the canon extensively highlights the importance of mentoring between children (under 18) and adults (typically over 30), the exploration of age relational or peer mentoring all but does not exist.  That is one of the inspirations for this model.

Of all the necessities of life, education is the most paramount to personal development and upward mobility. In addition, mentoring facilitates educational outlook and attainment.  Mentoring is building a personal relationship.  Mentoring means that persons are involved in a direct communicative process where they seek to produce a positive productive relationship outcome.  Mentoring involves connecting individuals who can have the most significant impact and improvement on behavior, attitude and activity.


What is Service Learning?


Service Learning is a process by which students can gain practical and real world, hands on experience that prepares them for “actual work.”  Service learning produces the opportunities by which students can practice, refine and critique learned theories through fieldwork.  Service learning also provides students the means critical examination of ideas (hypothesis) about the nature, scope and dynamics of organizations, institutions, events, situations and human behavior.  Ultimately, service learning allows students the critical segue to respond and react to social, political, economic and human need through institutional and organizational agencies. 

Learn and Serve America (LSA) called on colleges and universities across the U.S. to develop service learning opportunities for college and university students that involve direct high school youth mentoring.  Specifically, LSA determined that there is an increasing need for service in America’s public school system, a need that could also foster service and learning opportunities for the countries more than 2 million college and university students. 

            Undergraduate students from the University of Louisiana Sociological Society, the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Child & Family Studies along with ICO College Student Mentors participate in the planning and implementing the service-learning program.  They administer the Utilizing the Pathways for College Network: College Readiness for All assessment, which determines high school Mentees career readiness.

During mentoring sessions, College Student Mentors spend time talking with the High School Mentees about their concerns about college, assist them with completing the career assessment and encourage them to set high academic goals while in high school.  The College Student Mentors show video clips, play career oriented games both in groups and individually with the mentees.  College Student Mentors are encouraged to create activities that involve mentees one on one and as a group.  The High School Mentees come to the university campus on several occasions such as football games, basketball games, lagniappe day, a fashion show and an academic achievement recognition program.  All of these events provide them with real insight into multiple facets of university life.   

Campus organizations such as the Student Government Association, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, the Black Faculty & Staff Caucus and the University Program Council participate.  Community professionals including fashion designers, photographers, attorneys, social service workers, fire persons, and college professors meet with mentees and discuss career options, provide career insights and answer mentee questions.  The High School Mentees express enthusiasm about meeting actual career professionals, many who are University of Louisiana at Lafayette graduates. 

The Success Bound program believes that students can complete high school and is committed to providing the support needed to assure their success.  By offering continuous mentoring to high school students, Success Bound addresses some of the deterrents that prevent African American students from high school graduation and enrollment in college. This spring 2012, we are elated to report that some of our first High School Mentees will graduate with plans to pursue college education!


Dr. Toni Sims-Muhammad is Assistant Professor, Sociology, Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Child/Family Studies and the Director, Internship in Community Organization (ICO) Success Bound.  She can reached at University of Louisiana, Lafayette PO Box 40198 Lafayette, LA 70504

Phone: 337-482-6180, Email:


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Richmond public schools

I am the mother of 4 children. 2 are college graduates, 1 in graduate school and 2 still in college. I have been a mentor for 21 years when my oldest daughter was in kindergarten, and she is now a teacher in DC public schools. My entire family mentors a family of 4. Mentoring is woven into the fabric of our family.

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Whenever I tell someone that I grew up in the inner-city area of Los Angeles that was plagued by poverty and violence, and that my home life was not very different, I never fail to get the same question, "how did you overcome such obstacles?"

My response... Barbara Lehrner Canter. Barbara has been my mentor since I was 14 years old. From the time that she took me under her wing she has been the mother that I wish I had and the best friend anyone would be blessed to have.

If I were asked to describe what Barbara means to me, and the IMPACT she has had in my life, I would refer to the song so beautifully sung by Bette Midler (which never fails to make me cry), "Wind Beneath My Wings." Barbara is not only my hero but she is the reason that I am the person I am today.

Barbara was the person I needed when I was a child growing up in an emotionally, psychologically, and physically abusive home. She was one of the few people who believed that I could overcome any of my obstacles - and more than that she was the person who never let me give up. If it were not for her words of encouragement and her unconditional love, I probably would not have gone on to college and pursued a career in education.

It is because of her that the vicious cycle of poverty and abuse in my family ended with me. Everything I have and the person I am today is because of her.

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1000 Women for Mentoring

The relationship between a mentor and mentee can be life changing for both! 

I speak from experience as I look back at my 15 year relationship with Leticia who is the child of non-English speaking immigrants with 3rd grade educations.  She is the first in her family to graduate from high school, and has gone on to become a highly regarded special education teacher, working with students from backgrounds similar to her own.

I am not exaggerating when I say that my relationship with Leticia is one of the most gratifying and fulfilling in my life, second only to that of my husband, children and grandchildren. The power of our relationship is exemplified by her words on this year’s holiday card, which to me says it all:

“Barb, it is because of your love and support that I am the woman that I am today … thanks to you my children will have a better future.”

As President & CEO of Los Angeles Team Mentoring, I watched many inner-city children flourish and grow with the guidance of our program and dedicated mentors. Leticia is living proof of the power of mentoring and continues to be my inspiration for my involvement in 1000 Women for Mentoring and this transformative movement.

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