Will and Drew

Youth of Promise

Will’s mom brought him to our Youth of Promise program when he was in 9th grade. He wasn’t engaged in school and was struggling to get homework done. He would barely speak or make eye contact with anyone. It was rare to catch him without his hoodie up or his head down.

We connect all our youth with mentors, who guide them through challenges and commit to seeing them succeed. Drew, a local Pasadena judge, was a perfect match for Will. Drew and Will immediately bonded over their shared love of movies. Will has taught Drew about video games, while Drew has exposed Will to golf.

“I feel like I have made a new friend and that I am learning things about what it is like to be a teenager in today’s society,” Drew says. “Mentoring is truly a two-way street. I really believe that it is a very positive experience for both the mentor and the mentee.” In their time together, Drew says he’s noticed Will speaking up more, staying focused in school, and developing plans for the future. Drew says, “I hope that in some small way our relationship can help him realize that it is possible to achieve his goals.”

Now, as a 10th grader, Will makes a point to say hello, looks us in the eye and leaves the hoodie at home. Will has improved his grades and works hard during tutoring sessions. Recently, Will enjoyed preparing and serving food at Door of Hope’s homeless shelter and collecting hundreds of pounds of produce for families in need working with Food Forward at the Victory Park Farmers’ Market.

Youth need a nurturing network of support to be the best they can be. When caring adults invest and believe in them, they’re full of promise. As Drew put it, “It’s important that young people see that there are good options for them later on in life if they work hard and have a plan. Perhaps most importantly, it’s good for a young person to see that they have someone in their corner who cares about them and wants to see them be happy and successful.”

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