Mentoring Stories

Marcus A. Hunt, Mentor

“When I think back over the past few years with John [my mentee], it’s hard to put my finger on a single moment.  The thing that comes to my mind is the fact that our families came together and became one big family.  We had a chance to celebrate birthdays, basketball milestones, playoff wins, graduation, and now a chance to play basketball in college.  I think back to a night two years ago when John and I sat at our dinner table practicing math problems, and my then five year-old son sat in my lap trying to learn with us.  I see the way my kids look up to John and his super cool basketball friends, all because John took the time to care about what they cared about too and let us into his life. John and his family are an important part of our family, and it will go beyond a couple years of high school. I am so proud of John and the young man he has become and can’t wait to see what he does!”

Student Success Story

Jazma grew up in a Marietta housing project where she lived with her grandmother, as her mother was in and out of jail. She decided in high school that she wanted to become a Crime Scene Investigator. Her mentor arranged a trip to the Marietta Police Department where she met officers, detectives, and the police chief and was given a tour of all departments in the complex. She connected readily to the officers and was offered an internship at the department throughout high school.

Upon graduating, Jazma got her four year degree in criminal justice and became a Federal Marshall in Washington D.C. Jazma then earned her Master’s in criminal justice and was then hired by the CIA. She became the top security administrator at Kandahar Air Force Base.

Today, Jazma has returned to the states and is working on her doctorate. While her journey could lead her anywhere, her path started with a small step: a trip to the local police department which deepened her determination to be a success in her chosen field. Jazma J.

Student Success Story

Felicia’s mother abandoned her at a young age to an aunt and step uncle. Her step uncle repeatedly abused her and she became pregnant while in middle school. She decided to have the child and came into the Mentoring for Leadership program in the ninth grade with a two year old girl.

She was an exceptional student and her teachers and administrators quickly realized that she had enormous academic potential. The mentoring program provided Felicia with a virtual village to help encourage her and to provide support for her and the child. An administrator at Marietta High helped her and her mother, who was back in her life at this point, get into a housing program for abused women. Her mentors provided financial and emotional support for her and her child through high school.

Upon graduating, Felicia was accepted into Kennesaw State University. Felicia was awardee a scholarship, but her mentor still found a benefactor who paid any tuition costs and book fees not covered by that scholarship. Today, Felicia is a junior at KSU and is deeply involved in her daughter’s PTSA group. She is studying to become a social worker to help others overcome the odds and find success.

Student Success Story

TeBo entered ninth grade alongside 17 other African-American students, all of whom played sports. At the end of senior year, TeBo was the only one who graduated. TeBo came into the Marietta Mentoring for Leadership program at Marietta High his ninth grade year. All he had ever dreamed of becoming was a police officer. In the mentoring program, TeBo was matched with a Ricky, a young athlete who worked for Cobb Police in their emergency call center. Ricky and his wife became very involved in TeBo’s life, attending his football games, taking him to visit police officer friends and co-workers, and supporting TeBo as he became involved in a Police Explorer Youth Group.

After high school graduation, TeBo received a scholarship from Marietta Mentoring for Leadership to attend Chattahochee Technical School to study Criminal Justice and was hired as one of the first Marietta Police Ambassadors to serve the community of Marietta. He has recently been accepted into the Police Academy and his dream of becoming a police officer for the city of Marietta will soon be fulfilled.

With the support of the mentoring program and his mentor’s encouragement, TeBo has become, against all odds, an outstanding member of our community who can serve as a role model to other young people who did not grow up in the best circumstances. TeBo T.

Student Success Story

Before entering high school, Mirakal had possibly encountered almost every trauma that a child could endure. She met her mentor as a ninth grader and also joined Marietta High’s International Baccalaureate program and Junior ROTC. She excelled in school and in ROTC. Her mentor helped Mirakal with social skills, provided employment opportunities, and helped her connect with a community network.

When the situation at home became intolerable after numerous evictions, Mirakal’s mentor invited her  to move in with her family, with whom she lived for two years. Mirakal graduated Marietta High School as a full IB student, a commander in Junior ROTC, and student body co-president. At high school graduation, she was awarded the HOPE Scholarship and received the Marietta Mentoring for Leadership year end scholarship to attend Valdosta State University. Today, Mirakal is a senior at VSU.

Student Success Story

Brian had attended ten different schools between grades 1-8 and had never had a book bag much less a stable environment. We came to know Brian as a big teddy bear who loved literature and music and become a machine on the football field. His mentor loved football as well, helped keep statistics for the team, and got to know all the coaches. Brian excelled at football, in academics, and also played in the school orchestra.

When his mentor took him home one day after an injury during practice, he wanted to come into the apartment to speak to his mother. The mentor discovered that there was not one piece of furniture or kitchenware in the apartment. The friends of Mentoring for Leadership were alerted via social media and the mentor and another volunteer took donated furniture, beds, linens and pots and pans to the family. Brian’s mother was evicted several times during Brian’s early high school years. The mentoring program found an alternative, stable living situation for Brian.

Brian was awarded a full scholarship to a university in Tennessee. Today, Brian is a junior majoring in high school education. His goal is to become a high school literature teacher and to coach football at the high school level.