Archive for October, 2012

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My First Book is Out Now!

October 31, 2012


Today is my 25th Birthday. Coming from where I came from, living to see 25 is rare. I thank God for granting me a new year to live His Word. Today also happens to be the official release of my book with my mentee called Different Families, Still Brothers. You can see a preview of it and buy it now for $2.99. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the free Kindle app for any of your devices or even read the book in your browser. Above is an interview my mentee and I did with journalist David Whitely about the iMentor program based in New York City, our mentoring relationship and why mentoring is important. Please share!!! Stay strong. Keep it pushing. Peace be on to you, brothers and sisters! God bless!

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The Importance of Mentoring

October 22, 2012

The book cover

Today, I present to you all the first half of my intro essay to my upcoming book with my mentee Different Families, Still Brothers. Some of this essay contains elements from an earlier essay I wrote. Get more information about the book here. It will be out next week! To go along with the release of the book, I will be dropping an interview about the book with my mentee and I. It was done by a upcoming journalist David Whitely. Feel free to share this!

Being a mentor for the first time can be hard. For most people, their first mentee is their younger sibling. Mentoring your younger sibling can be rewarding and/or discouraging. Most first time mentors don’t know where to start with their mentee. Sometimes the outside factors of a mentor-mentee relationship can make the relationship null and void. This can be frustrating to the point where the mentor can be turned off to helping any other young person.

I know how that feels. I was almost at that point. My brother, who was my first mentee, and I were two peas in a pod. We hung out and played together outside. We played video games together. We played card games together. Since our parents weren’t invested in our lives, all we had was each other. I comforted him when my father fought my mom. I took him places to get his mind off the drama at home.

Most of my youth, I was with him. I led by example by doing well in school. I lectured him on how education was his way out of the life we lived. While he was in high school, he started to do horrible in it and disrespect my parents. I was in college at the time. My parents would repeatedly call me to have me talk to him. It got to the point where I said what I thought I would never say.

I told him, “I’m not going waste my breath with you if you’re not even going to try.” I was sick of talking to him about his disregard for himself and others. I was sick of telling him how he was heading towards the road of our father. He was sick of me lecturing him. I learned that you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. I proceeded to tell him, “There are other young people out there who aren’t going to waste my breath, my time.” I didn’t close the door fully on him though. I told him, “When you’re ready to be helped, when you’re ready to hear me speak, I will always be here for you.”

I was right about other young people being out there who weren’t going to waste my time. The time that this conversation with my brother occurred was when I was about to join a mentoring program called Saratoga Mentoring in Saratoga Springs, New York. This program’s mentees where middle school students from impoverished backgrounds. The program was a social one. The mentor-mentee pairs just spent time with each other on campus. I had two mentees in my three year run with the program.

Being in this program was the first time I was directly giving back to my people, poor people. I shared my life story with both mentees, but the first mentee wasn’t engaged in the program. Most of the time, he wasn’t showing up to campus. I could’ve been so upset that I would quit the program as well. But I didn’t. I asked for and was given another mentee. He was so engaged that I felt like a big brother to him.

But there was only so much you could do in a social program with a middle school student. The program is great for first time mentors. It got me into the world of mentoring. After I graduated college, I wanted to help even more than I did in that mentoring program. I remembered the mentoring program I was in as a high school student, iMentor.

First, I applied to get a job at iMentor and was stunned when I didn’t get hired after expressing how I related to the students and doing well on addressing a problem a mentor would encounter with a mentee. I wasn’t discouraged because I became a mentor in the program. I was amazed with how big iMentor got, which has it positives and negatives. One positive was that it had become more academic. One negative was how I seen a mentee can still fall in the cracks of society.

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“Poverty: Bigger Than the Block”

October 13, 2012


A lecture by me about what poor people in America endure and why we need to stand up for them. It was given at Free University Week.

In this video, I also talk about a new book I have coming out with my mentee. It is called Different Families, Still Brothers.

The book cover

It showcases the benefits of mentoring. It contains of two years worth of email exchanges between my mentee and I while they were in the iMentor program based in New York City. I give my mentee advice on the college application process, financial aid, dealing with the pressures of high school and so much more. We also share our stories of overcoming the many factors of poverty with each other. The book serves as a motivator for young people coming up in a crazy world.

It includes an introduction essay written by me called “The Importance of Mentoring.” In it, I encourage those who came from impoverished backgrounds to mentor and those who don’t know what it is like to be poor to do research to better serve those in poverty. Next week, I will post part of that essay.

The book will come out on November 1st, my 25th birthday, on Kindle. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the free Kindle app for any of your devices.

If you would like me to speak, lead a discussion, Bible Study or workshop at your meeting, event, conference or school, visit my website for more information.