In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Mike Rowe and fellow board member Quincy Harris created a new direction for Legacy of Hope when they started the Mentorship Program—Mentoring Minds that Matter. Their idea: use a variety of mentors to bring otherwise unavailable career and learning opportunities to kids in underserved communities, and marry those efforts with Legacy of Hope’s mission. This unique approach would give 7th and 8th grade mentees tangible skills in negotiation and project management, firsthand experience with community service, and access to a variety of mentors from across the country.
West Oak Lane Charter School (WOLCS), the flagship school for the program, is currently wrapping up its second [very successful] year thanks to the efforts of Miss Holland Durham, an administrator at WOLCS, who has been instrumental as liaison between Legacy of Hope and the school. Nia Andrews, VP of the mentorship program, also helped to guide the students as they planned and executed their 2022 project.
This year, the mentees helped a cancer patient in their community, by providing household materials/dry goods for the family, and raising money for a gift card that helped the patient prep her son to head off to college. They are also working to establish relationships with local businesses to assist future patients.
La`Raine Bacchus, 8th grader, second year mentee and President of WOLCS Student Body, explains “one of the ways that we raised funds was having a ‘dress down day’ at school. Students paid two dollars; and each grade wore a different color. The money we raised went to school supplies, cleaning supplies, and food for the family.” Her favorite part of the project was “seeing the joy that we brought to the family.” She goes on to state “I was not the best at communication; the program has helped me develop and improve my communications.”
7th grader, and first year mentee, Zaria O’Reilly says the mentorship program has already helped her “because I was confused about what career I wanted. Through the mentors I’ve met, I feel like I’m closer to figuring out a career path” which, in her case, likely means becoming a veterinarian.
For 8th grader Quincy Sullivan, “the mentorship program inspires us to do something bigger than ourselves. It has helped me learn how to be a team player.”
These testimonies represent a promising start for the mentorship program, and the type of opportunities and education that our young people need. Legacy of Hope is committed to growing and improving the mentorship program so that everyone involved benefits from strengthening our community. You can partner with this vibrant community by supporting the mentorship program with a donation.