Mentor Match Day at STOKED

Words by: Harold Williams STOKED is returning to its roots. This winter, Program Manager Romney Lewis and I have worked to revive STOKED’s 1-on-1 Mentoring Program. This program allows students to receive individual mentoring from our caring volunteers. We were able to match 27 mentors with 27 mentees, and we were stoked to include more mentors of color this year to reflect the population we serve.

We have a Year 4 cohort this year, filled with High School seniors who are trying to figure out their next move as the next chapter of their lives quickly approaches. I am so grateful for the many mentors that have committed their time to our Year 4 students. With the huge response we received, we were able to expand our program to include STOKED kids who are juniors and first year college students as well. I, too, decided to be a mentor along with some other STOKED staff members. I was paired up with a freshmen at St. John’s University who said to me, “I need some internships or something.” I remember being in that place and can’t wait to give him guidance.

The Mentor Match Day was nothing short of awesome! On a sunny but chilly Saturday, we invited mentors and mentees to the STOKED Space to finally match these kids with kind, attentive adults from our STOKED network. The mentors shuffled in nervously, but were excited and began striking conversations with each other. Romney and I played it cool as we ran down the agenda for the day asking each other if we forgot anything. We spoke a bit about the program guidelines, rules, and smart goals. Then the kids trickled in. Each mentor placed their name and their mentee’s name along the wall in the STOKED office. The students were asked to search for their names and once they did, they found their mentors standing underneath their name.

Then the magic happened... the pairs met, shook hands, and chatted, exchanging stories and interests. After an icebreaker, they ate, took pictures, and went home inspired. I think everyone could tell that day was the beginning of a beautiful journey. Again, I am so grateful for the mentors who have committed to mentoring our kids and I’m grateful for STOKED!

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For more information on STOKED click here.