by Shawn Nowlin
In no particular order young adults constantly need the following: self-esteem, positive examples, discipline, and encouragement. Whether they have those things or not many are “judged” on everything from their academic credentials to the decisions they make. Should that be the case? Of course not but unfortunately it is in more cases than not. Aware of such things the Goodwill Industries of the Valleys Inc. in Roanoke started a much-needed mentoring program in 2009; catering to kids of all backgrounds in Roanoke and its surrounding areas.
There the “at risk” youth are exposed to people of all walks of life, learn invaluable life lessons, and are encouraged to speak out and ask questions. Whether it be dealing with peer pressure or learning how to not be defined by a current situation, the topics broached specifically tackle the issues that young adults face every single day.
In honor of celebrating National Mentoring Month Goodwill GoodGuides put together an evening titled “The Heroes Among Us” (Jan 17) inside the legendary Dumas Center located in Downtown Roanoke. Hosted by WSLS news anchor John Carlin, he engaged the audience throughout the entire event with his unique flair and vibrant personality.
“The main purpose for today was to recognize National Mentoring Month….celebrate our mentors and let the community know that mentoring really does matter,” GoodGuides Mentoring Program Manager Nicole Ross said. “The Goodwill marketing department was instrumental in making this a success.” During the event Stephanie Hoer (Goodwill Dir. Youth Services) and Catherine Long (Mentor Coordinator) addressed the audience to further elaborate on the program. David DuVall (Employment Specialist) and Mary Hubbard (Mentor Coordinator) also assisted in making sure things ran smoothly.
Michael Maycock and Kappa Epsilon Psi Military Sorority Inc. of NC (entertainment), George Warner and Thomas Page (NuFocus Media), as well as Kathy Duncan, Chef Henry and Roanoke City Public Schools Culinary Arts Program (food) all contributed more to the event than their title suggests. A silent auction, which featured over 30 sponsors, was open to all attendees to bid prior to the start of the show. All attendees also had the opportunity to get a professional picture taken, something that many took advantage of. Tickets were $15 per person with all proceeds benefiting the GoodGuides Youth Mentoring Program.
NuFocus Media presented a powerful mini documentary that featured footage of several mentors and the recruits on a summer trip to New York City, working together to clean up the community and discussing how the program has affected them.
“We are always looking for mentors and anyone who may be interested can go to the website (www.goodwillvalleys.com) to learn how,” Ross said.
As the event concluded, a congregation took to the stage to a standing ovation as “Mentor of the Year,” Mark Grogan was celebrated. The GoodGuides Youth Mentoring Program has helped rewrite the history of so many kids. Hundreds of young adults have directly benefited from the organization since its inception over five years ago. The event was a shining example of the organization’s mission: “Empowering youth to make positive choices that enable them to maximize their current and future potential.”