Mentor Michigan and former University of Michigan head football coach Lloyd Carr announced today the recipients of the 2012 Lloyd Carr MVP Mentoring Awards. The third annual awards are given to four youths in Michigan who best exemplify the extraordinary benefits of a mentoring relationship.
"Mentoring can have an impact on young people; often helping them improve their attitude, grades, and relationships," said Lloyd Carr, one of Mentor Michigan's current spokesmen. "These awards recognize those benefits and highlight four exceptional Michigan high school students."
The four recipients are all currently enrolled in high school and are engaged in formal mentoring matches. Each winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship, courtesy of Mentor Michigan, to attend college or a trade school. An awards ceremony will be held on the campus of the University of Michigan on Monday, January 30, 2012. Mentor Michigan is an initiative of the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC).
"The importance of a college education is a significant conversation many mentors have with their mentees," said Amber Troupe, director of Mentor Michigan. "Mentor Michigan is pleased to be able to help support these young people's future goals and encourage their dreams."
The winners include:
- Willie "Tre" Brooks of Grand Rapids is a 17-year-old senior at Northview High School. He has been matched with his mentor, Joan Koelzer, since the seventh grade. Tre', who has some special needs, was bullied throughout school and felt very anxious in social situations. Although Tre and Joan's mentoring relationship began through the middle school's mentoring program, they continued their relationship throughout Tre's high school career at his request. Six years later, Tre is a dynamic member of his high school class, where he is very active in the band program, even competing at the state marching band competition at Ford Field. Joan has taught Tre the confidence he needs to feel comfortable in social situations. In the future, Tre hopes to attend Michigan State University to study music.
- Gabriela Diaz of Holland is a 17-year-old senior at Holland Public Schools. She has been matched with her mentor, Rachel Patmos, since 2010 through Barnabas Ministries. Growing up with many unresolved and painful emotions, Gabriela was a very quiet young lady with little interest in school or optimism for the future. With the guidance of Rachel, Gabriela has been able to identify and work towards many future goals, including obtaining her driver's license, raising her G.P.A., and obtaining a job. Additionally, Rachel has helped Gabriela to work through some of her personal problems with her family and her past. Gabriela has become committed to secondary education and plans to one day become a probation officer for juvenile offenders.
- Kyle Gundlach of Waterford is a 17-year-old junior at Waterford Schools. He has been matched for more than ten years with his mentor, Bob Bernard, through the Oakland County Youth Assistance program, Mentors Plus. Growing up without a father, Kyle was an angry child who often fought with his classmates and struggled with personal blame for his parents' divorce. Bob was able to help Kyle work through his issues by encouraging him to talk to both his parents, and to participate in extra-curricular activities. Bob and Kyle tried many different things and were very happy when Kyle found his true passion; acting, band and choir. With the helpful mentorship of Bob, Kyle has been able to leave many of his problems in the past as he prepares for a happy and successful life. He hopes to attend a four-year college to study Arts, Theatre, Drama and Music.
- Brandon Youngblood of Warren is a 16-year-old sophomore in the Warren area school system. He was matched with his mentor, Brett Zmijewski, through Childhelp. As a youth in foster care, Brandon suffered from anxiety, low self-esteem and lack of experience in social situations. After spending time together in their mentoring relationship, Brett has seen Brandon grow tremendously. He has become more confident and his sense of self-worth has increased as well. Brandon is now an advocate for youth in foster care and speaks publicly on a regular basis. Additionally, Brett has helped Brandon to improve relationships with his peers and to see the impact of his actions on his future goals. Together they are developing a plan for Brandon's future.
The 2012 Lloyd Carr MVP Mentoring Awards fall during the annual Michigan Mentoring Month, an event held every January to showcase the importance and impact of mentoring in communities across the state. Many mentoring programs in Michigan are in need of more mentors. If you are interested, visit the Mentor Michigan Directory located at www.mentormichigan.org.
Mentor Michigan supports nearly 250 organizations around the state that are changing lives by matching mentors with young people. Mentor Michigan provides those organizations with training and research. It fosters partnerships with businesses, faith-based and nonprofit organizations, schools, colleges and universities, and state and local government to support mentoring. Mentor Michigan also builds public awareness about the importance of and the need for mentors by urging caring adults to "Pass It On," because sharing a little of yourself with a young person can reward both of you with lifelong benefits.
Note: Mentor Michigan is happy to provide photos of the event or individual winners following the January 30 event in Ann Arbor. Please contact Jamie Wilson at email@example.com or (517)335-7875 to request a copy.