African-American Male Mentors Guide Youth to College and Beyond

Denver, CO. — When a resource counselor at Goodwill Industries® of Denver saw that, without caring adult mentors to offer guidance, African-American males at a local high school faced multiple personal struggles, the agency created the Men at Work African-American Male Mentor Group. This year, Goodwill Industries International honors the program with its 2010 Goodwill® Volunteer Program of the Year Award.
The Men at Work program pairs African-American professionals from the Denver-metro area with African-American students at East High School. The mentors and mentees discuss everything from schoolwork, grades and the college experience to healthy interactions with authority figures and how to overcome personal and professional adversity. In 2008, all seven of the program’s mentees went on to college, a primary goal of the mentor program.
“[The mentors] understand where you’re coming from…and they definitely don’t pass judgment,” said one mentee. “Before, I didn’t feel like I had any positive role models. The mentors went through the same struggles as me, but they persevered through it — and they want the same for me.”
Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International, praised Goodwill Industries of Denver for its innovative approach to identifying local problems and finding solutions that work. “Community participation is key to the success of many Goodwill programs,” he said. “We’re pleased to honor a program that links youth with caring adult professionals who can make a tremendous difference in their ability to continue school and find meaningful work.”
The Volunteer Program of the Year Award recognizes an outstanding volunteer-driven program at a member Goodwill organization that is mission focused and outcomes oriented. The winning program has a lasting impact on Goodwill clients and serves as a model for other Goodwill organizations to replicate.