Youth of Promise
Darren Meyers, a high school senior, reflects on his journey from adolescence to young adulthood. He grew up in what he describes as the “close-knit city” of Pasadena and loves playing football, going to school, and hanging out with friends. In middle school, Darren says, “I guess… I could be classified as a hothead.” Without a positive role model, many youths like Darren struggle to develop the skills necessary to succeed in a community affected by poverty and violence.
Darren joined Flintridge Center’s Youth of Promise Program in seventh grade and says that after being matched with a mentor, “it helped me keep my mind on track.” Darren and his mentor, Eric, bonded over their shared passion for football and spend time together going to sports games, movies, and restaurants. “It’s just nice to have somebody to talk to about the stuff that’s happening around me,” Darren says. Eric has been a source of stability and leadership for Darren, from guiding him through the college application process to providing emotional support in difficult times, like when Darren’s mother passed away from cancer.
When asked what the biggest lesson he learned from Eric is, Darren reflects, “I can be the bigger man now. I can diffuse a situation without using violence.”
With the skills learned as a mentee, Darren has achieved success inside and outside of the classroom. He quarterbacked John Muir High School’s Mustangs football team to a victory over Pasadena High School in the 70th annual Turkey Tussle. He will continue to pursue his passion for football as a collegiate athlete next year and is currently assessing options from Dixie State University in Utah and the University of California, Davis.
Darren hopes that future Youth of Promise will take advantage of the opportunity to spend time with a caring and committed mentor. “They’re not here to judge you or to put you down. They’re going to help you. If they can’t help you they’ll find a way to help you. They’ll find someone who can help you.”