top of page

Power Mentor

Nia Andrews, VP of Mentorship Program. photo: Bryan Lathrop

Nia Andrews was born and raised in Philadelphia’s Germantown section. She got involved with Legacy of Hope through—surprise, surprise—Mike Rowe. “We were working in the ER one day and he was looking for volunteers for the PHL 24. I volunteered my time for the event and it went really well. I really enjoyed the people and Legacy's mission; and so I told Mike if there was anything else that came up, I would love to help out.”

Soon after, Mike got back to Andrews about Legacy’s mentorship program, telling her “I think you’d be great as a mentor.” She came on to speak with the students about the importance of communication and public speaking, and promptly fell in love with the program. “The students and I really connected. They asked the administrators for me to come back again; so I just kept logging on, and logging on, and logging on (the program was being run virtually because of Covid). After joining the mentorship program in 2021, Andrews assumed the role of VP for the program this year. Her love for Legacy’s Mentorship program is showing, as she has helped to grow the program from one school to three: West Oak Lane Charter School, Global Leadership Academy Southwest, and West.

“We expose 7th and 8th graders to career opportunities that they might not have been exposed to, while allowing them to create a project to help a family affected by cancer. This approach helps these students to gain different leadership styles and tools that they’ll use for the rest of their lives. We try to bring in mentors who are focused on things that the students are interested in, while still emphasizing our core values of finance and accounting, coding, leadership, entrepreneurship and communication.”

When asked to cite a memorable experience with the mentorship students, Andrews doesn’t miss a chance to celebrate the program’s positive effects, “To be honest with you, I think the reason I stayed on with Legacy and why I continue to invest my time is that every experience with the students is memorable. But one project that kind of brought things full circle for me was…working with a family that had a broken door. The students came up with a creative idea for fixing the door. They estimated labor costs and materials, and found a local contractor with whom they negotiated labor costs. Then they picked a representative to speak with the contractor; she pitched her idea to the contractor: waive the labor costs in exchange for publicity on the news and in their school newsletter that goes out to all the staff, the administrators and the students’ parents. They got a “yes” from the contractor; the student representative was so excited, she came back and reported to the students… just overwhelmed with joy, even the following week. All of the students were really excited, not only to help the family but to see their work come to fruition. Most importantly, they gained tangible skills of negotiations and project management while they were helping others. I did not have these kinds of skills in the seventh grade, at all!”

Because the mentorship program brings this type of real world experience and relevance to young students, it’s no wonder that Andrews is excited about growing the program even further. “Last year we had 12 students, this year we have 33 students across three schools. We still meet via Zoom, which presents its own challenges; we have to factor different things into our communications, learning from our mistakes and fine tuning as we go. For example, students have to square up—everybody has to have their camera on, everyone has to participate. And the chat box gets turned off