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.”