Seattle CARES Mentoring Movement

Mentor Spotlight: Rose Green

You might say “three times the charm” for new mentor Rose Green.

Rose first became familiar with Seattle CARES when her grandson participated for two years in The Rising at Denny International Middle School. She liked what she saw and decided to become involved with a Community Wellness Circle, a group of single moms and caregivers facilitated by Seattle CARES. Now, she has taken that one step further to become a mentor herself, working with young Rising scholars at Denny International. Her interest and determination to get involved in three different ways is a real rarity!

Recently, we asked Rose to tell us more about mentoring and what it means to her.

Why did you decide to become a mentor?

I feel like I’m helping, not just waiting for things to get better. I wanted to be a part of the change. If I keep showing up, maybe I can make a difference.

What have you learned?

I’ve learned to treat each person with respect and consideration. Each person is different. It’s about them. We don’t tell the scholars what to do. We share our experiences and provide options.

What surprised you most about mentoring?

How much I can see my younger self in them. I think if I had one person I could have gone to, maybe my life would have turned out differently.

What do you like most about the Community Wellness Circles?

At first I wasn’t sure it was for me. Now I really look forward to the meetings and enjoy the ladies. I love how we are there for each other. It’s amazing how we need each other.

How would you describe the mentor experience.

A mentor is committed, doesn’t give up and is a great listener. In return, it’s a rewarding experience.

See if mentoring is for you. Learn more here.


The Rising: A mentor’s perspective

In January 2018, when Seattle CARES launched its mentoring movement in partnership with City of Seattle, Christian Love was in the audience. He was so inspired by the presentation and the enthusiasm he felt that night that he signed up to become a mentor, wanting to make an impact on his community.

Christian, who grew up in Detroit, got interested in mentoring early on. As a middle-school student, he was asked to serve as a role model for younger students, helping them set academic goals and improve their classroom behavior. Today, he is pursuing his doctoral degree in higher education at the University of Washington, a first-generation graduate student.

He has been a volunteer mentor with The Rising from the very beginning. “I wanted to help pave the way for future scholars to serve as leaders in our community,” he said. “Over the past three years, I’ve seen these young men grow and develop in many ways, from gaining leadership skills to advocating for important issues that impact Black and Brown youth in Seattle.”

Christian pointed out how a group of students who were quiet and reserved as sixth-graders had become leaders by eighth grade, thanks to The Rising. “They became the first to step up and volunteer for a student-based leadership role,” he said. “Now, as they move on to high school, they want to be student leaders, to join organizations and help impact the culture at their schools. Some will even be coming back to serve as peer mentors for the second cohort of Rising scholars.”

Christian was thrilled that two of The Rising students received scholarships to O’Dea High School. “This will be a game changer,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for them to change the narrative of their current stories and set the stage for positive life outcomes in the years to come.”

Mentor Spotlight: Jeff Forge

Jeff Forge always enjoyed working with kids so becoming a mentor with Seattle CARES seemed a natural next step.

Jeff grew up in New York City and attended the University of Wisconsin on a football scholarship, graduating with a B.S. in child and family studies. He earned a second degree in computer science and lunar and planetary science at the University of Arizona. Along the way, he was a Montessori preschool teacher, a middle school math teacher, and most recently, for the past 20 years, a software engineer.

Recently, we asked Jeff to tell us more about mentoring and what it means to him.

Why did you become a mentor?

Mentoring is important work. Even though I have my own kids, I feel that as a community, the success and well-being of all children is the responsibility of all of us. When I came across the opportunity to participate with Seattle CARES, I jumped at the chance.

What do you like most about mentoring? 

I enjoy getting to know both the students and the other mentors.

Was mentoring important to you growing up?

When I look back on my youth and my time in both athletics and academics, what stands out for me are the mentors and the people who guided me along the way.

Describe being a mentor in three words.

Committed, humble, consistent.

Learn more about mentoring here.


Mentor Spotlight: Phillip Bailey

Phillip Bailey has been a mentor with Seattle CARES Mentoring Movement for nearly a year and sees it as a way to give back to his community. He is currently mentoring two brothers who attend Meany Middle School and was recruited through our partner organization, the 4C Coalition. The brothers’ family had been homeless for nearly two years, sleeping in a van. Once that fact was known, Seattle CARES provided clothes and supplies and advocated with King County to get them into housing.

Bailey is the founder and executive director of WorldWide BBMC, a social and human services organization that supports students and parents academically and financially. We talked to him recently about mentoring.

Why did you become a mentor?

I became a mentor to give back to young Black men. I can relate to the kids because I was one of them. I want to see forward progress for young Black males coming up in this era.

What do you like most about mentoring?

I like the connection I get between myself and the mentees I serve. I like to witness how they are growing and maturing. I love seeing them thrive, and I enjoy being part of the bigger picture. The one thing that surprised me most about being a mentor is seeing how these young scholars use the principles they are learning to overcome obstacles in their lives.

Can mentoring help youth better deal with today’s political and racial tensions?

I can relate to these young men. I see a connection between them being young African American males and my own kids. Living in some of the same neighborhoods where my mentees come from, I am going through some of the same things that these kids are dealing with, such as being the only Black male in my cohort at Seattle University and dealing with racial issues.

How do you talk about today’s issues with The Rising scholars?

I keep it real and relatable. I talk to them just as I would talk to my own kids. I use scenarios to play out certain situations and then I go further when it’s needed to help expand the conversation.

Describe being a mentor in three words.

Caring, reliable, invested.


Greg Banks: Seattle CARES Mentor since 2017

Greg Banks has been a Seattle CARES mentor since we launched Our Best in 2017. Employed in health care, Banks was one of the first men we recruited into Our Best and one of the first to complete mentor orientation and training.

Banks transitioned to The Rising program two years ago where he mentors a 13-year-old enrolled at Meany Middle School. The young man, who lives with his grandmother in the Central District, has seen more than his share of tragedy. Although his mentee was reluctant to open up at first, Banks persisted and today the two have formed a close friendship.

Along with Banks participation as a mentor, the Seattle CARES team advocated for the family, finding community partners to help pay rent and utility bills. We talked to Banks recently about mentoring.

Why did you become a mentor? I was a troubled youth and there was no one to help me make difficult decisions. My father died when I was 16 years old and I felt so lonely after that.

What do you like most about mentoring? I enjoy building strong relationships with young people. Today’s youth want the same thing I wanted when I was their age: To have someone who is there for them. They want a man who accepts them for who they are. I find it surprising that with all our technology, what a young man wants most is to be loved.

Can mentoring help youth better deal with today’s political and racial tensions? There is a lot going on in the world today, from police abuse to a global pandemic. Being able to talk with someone about these things can be life-changing.

How do you talk about these issues with The Rising scholars? During our Rising sessions, we ask the young men to talk about how they feel, what they’ve seen and heard. Then we ask: If you were an adult, what would you do? How would you change things? It gives them a chance to talk about what is going on without being judged. Some ask questions, many talk about their fears. The mentors share their experiences, as well. We tell them the most important thing is to make it home each day. If you are stopped by the police, do everything they ask you to do. It is better we pick you up from the police station under the wrong circumstances than to have to identify you at the morgue.

Describe being a mentor in three words. Rewarding, fulfilling, commitment.