Seattle CARES Mentoring Movement


Meet a Mentor: Ronnae Redmond

Ronnae Redmond is a co-facilitator in the new all-girl’s Rising program. A native of Seattle, she earned a bachelor’s degree in child and family development, and today she works as an outreach housing specialist at the nonprofit Mary’s Place. Ronnae joined Seattle CARES as a mentor because of her interest in giving back to her community.

Recently, we asked Ronnae to tell us more about her experiences with group mentoring and what it means to her.

Why did you decide to become a mentor?

My choosing to become a mentor comes from the passion and drive I want to share to shape young minds. I didn’t want to be the mentor I never had when I was growing up. I wanted to be a role model in a child’s life, someone she can look up to and confide in.

What kind of growth have you seen with The Rising scholars?

I have watched these girls blossom into young ladies. At the beginning of the year, they were closed off. You could see they were reluctant to share their thoughts and ideas with the group. But as time went on, their personalities began to show. I’ve seen some of the quieter scholars speak up and find their voice through our group sessions.

What do you talk about with your mentees during the group sessions?

I try to bring up real-life issues. I think it’s important to bring up these issues because they are part of today’s society. There may come a time when a mentee comes face-to-face with one of these issues and it’s important for them to know how to respond or reflect on the situation.

How would you describe a mentor?

A mentor is committed, attentive and compassionate.


The Rising gets excellent grades from parents — and from students

Meany Middle School students Ben and Joey (left to right, below) have seen their grades and their confidence improve, thanks to their ongoing participation in The Rising program, one of Seattle CARES signature programs. In addition to Meany, The Rising also has a program at Denny International Middle School.

When signing up for The Rising, Ben’s mother Tiffany hoped it would expose her son to positive role models and help him develop a more confident self-image. She also wanted him to make new friends. Marauita’s son Joey has seen himself become “more of a leader and have more confidence.”

The young scholars also gave positive marks to The Rising. Joey found that his participation in the program “kept me out of gangs and gave me something to do.” His favorite part was working with mentors and getting additional tutoring. Ben also liked that he made new friends and that the teachers were very supportive.

Both moms participate in the Wellness Circles for parents, a safe space for them to meet with other women and de-stress. “The Wellness Circle has impacted my life and helped me have an effect on other women,” said Marauita. “I take the things we talk about and see how they can be incorporated into my own life.”

While the boys are looking forward to time off this summer, their mothers hope their sons’ progress will continue to grow. “I want him to take the values he learns from The Rising and apply them not only to school but in his future life, as well,” said Marauita.

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, 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.