Seattle CARES Mentoring Movement

News

Voices for Change lecture series brings in top local and national speakers

In January, Seattle CARES inaugurated a new webinar series called “Voices for Change.” For the next six month, speakers from around the nation shared their wisdom and expertise. Each virtual presentation drew more than 50 people.

“Voices for Change” augments one of Seattle CARES’ signature programs — Wellness Community Circles — which helps Black families, particularly those led by single women, improve their relationship with their children and learn how to create a better life. The series was supported by King County’s Positive Family Connections.

In January, the kick-off speaker was Fonda Bryant, right, a nationally recognized expert on mental health and recovery. Her presentation was so popular that she offered a second webinar in February about suicide and how to spot its warning signs.

In March, speaker Rick DuPree introduced his fascinating new documentary, “Seattle Black Panthers Fight for Justice and Freedom,” which will premiere later this year. The film was directed and produced by DuPree, and produced as well by his son Marques and Seattle Black Panthers Aaron and Elmer Dixon.

April’s presentation focused on “Voter Suppression, Bloody Sunday and the Continued Fight for Voting Rights,” given by Dr. Terry Anne Scott, an historian and author. Scott explored what is going on with voter suppression currently and offered tips on what we can do to create change.

Sabrina Lamb, left, founder and CEO of WorldofMoney.com, shared her financial wisdom in a presentation entitled “Developing Financial Results, One Person at a Time.”  During the webinar, attendees learned more about the power of money, how to use money wisely, and how to become more engaged in their financial future.

The last speaker of the season is Chris Latson, whose June 28 presentation will help parents bridge the generational gap by explaining parenting in the real world. Latson has 14 years’ experience in coaching and mentoring. He is the CEO and founder of Communities Honoring Active Male Parenting (C.H.A.M.P.) and has worked with Atlanta CARES Mentoring Movement since 2016.

Meet a Mentor: Pastor John Oliver III

Pastor John, a native of Seattle, has been a Seattle CARES mentor since the program was launched four years ago. A graduate of Garfield High School, he has a master’s degree in theology and is currently working on his PhD. He works as an intellectual property patent technical specialist for a law firm and is also pastor of the Gleanings Community Bible Church. A musician and songwriter, he enjoys singing and playing multiple instruments. As a mentor, he has worked with youth in The Rising program at Denny Middle School where he has seen incredible growth and development among the scholars participating in the program.

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

Why did you decide to become a mentor?

Growing up, I had both my parents and a host of relatives, yet it took an entire village to get me to where I am today. My hope is to continue employing the “village” approach in the upbringing of our children. It is of utmost importance for each of us to pour out the knowledge, wisdom and love we received.

What do you like about mentoring?

I absolutely love hearing what challenges the young scholars face, both at school and out of school. Hearing young Black scholars articulate how they feel about various current events and things happening in the world is a wonderful experience. Many times, our youth are misunderstood because we misinterpret what they are saying or doing. It’s nice to offer them a safe place where they can be themselves and learn alternative methods to express themselves.

What kind of growth have you seen with Rising scholars?

Throughout the pandemic, these young scholars overcame their own insecurities and continued to learn through a host of obstacles. Their strength and resilience were amazing.

What do you talk about with your mentees?

I believe it is important to get their thoughts on current events and how it reflects not only on their personal lives, but how the community, city, state, nation and world are impacted. We help these young Black scholars understand the value of articulating their emotions through speech, sports and the arts – not through guns or gangs.

In your view, what three words describe a mentor?

A mentor is supportive. A mentor is a vanquisher, someone who defeats the misconception that Black men are the enemy. And lastly, a mentor is harmonious. Mentors work together to empower youth to become the best version of themselves.

Learn more about mentoring.

4C Coalition provides one-on-one mentoring to Rising scholars

In February, 4C Coalition will begin to provide one-on-one mentoring support to students, both boys and girls, enrolled in The Rising at Denny International and Meany middle schools. Students will be carefully matched with trained same-gender Black adults who provide support, counsel, friendship and a positive role model.

“The ongoing pandemic, coupled with schools moving between online and in-person classes, it’s a lot for a young scholar to deal with,” said Hazel Cameron, 4C Coalition executive director. “We think one-on-one mentoring will make a difference in these young lives. The kids will have a dedicated adult they can talk to, explore options and discuss their fears.”

Seattle CARES has been a long-time partner of the 4C Coalition, a leader in group and one-on-one mentoring programs in King County. Since its founding in 1999, the 4C Coalition has mentored more than 2,000 youth, using a proven, culturally relevant approach.

Learn more about the 4C Coalition.

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.

 

Mentors help Rising scholars navigate O’Dea High School

This fall, former Rising scholar August entered ninth grade at O’Dea High School, a private all-boys college preparatory school in Seattle. Besides focusing on his studies, August plays on the basketball team and is looking forward to starting track and field in the spring.

August is one of four Rising scholars currently attending O’Dea and the only one who participated in The Rising at Denny International Middle School. Rasaan, Breylon and Julian were part of The Rising program at Meany and are also nine graders at O’Dea. Their success is the result of a community of caring and dedicated individuals.

Take August, for example. For two years, he worked hard in The Rising at Denny International Middle School, taking advantage of its tutorial program. His progress was supported by two Rising mentors, Jeff Forge and Gregory Banks. Their interest and August’s determination made all the difference. As Lucas Dobbs, vice principal at O’Dea, said recently: “August’s hard work, dedication to his community, diligent efforts with his studies and leadership skills made O’Dea possible for him as a next step in his journey.”

Slightly more than half of the student body at O’Dea is white; Black students comprise about 16%. Considering these demographics, it was challenging for August to establish friendships with some of the other students.

To help, Seattle CARES reached out to another O’Dea alum, an individual who went on to earn a doctoral degree, to mentor August during his freshman year. The two hit it off. They have pep talks frequently on Zoom and August is feeling more comfortable in the O’Dea environment.

In fact, his story was so inspirational he was selected to be part of a new video produced by National CARES Mentoring Movement. The film crew traveled to Seattle this past December and spent two days filming Rising scholars, mentors, educators, parents and staff from Seattle CARES. Read more here.

The four Rising scholars at O’Dea know their studies are preparing them not only for college but for the rest of their lives. They should be incredibly proud of their achievements, and we know their futures will be bright.