PROVIDE MOTIVATION FOR EDUCATION
Motivation is vital to the success of this program. Due to a multitude of obstacles—some real and some imagined—many of the students who come into this program believe that success is out of their reach. The mentors must first convince these students that it is not. The Foundation focuses on the theory that education + desire = success, and with both education and desire, success is not only possible, it should be expected. Mentors are also called upon to point out potential pitfalls along the way, and to share their own personal stories of overcoming adversity. Mentors stress the importance of passing the proficiency test in order to receive a high school diploma. To the students in this program college will become an expectation, not just an aspiration.
TO ESTABLISH AND BUILD A POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP
Through the mentor/protégé relationship, the Foundation hopes to increase both the confidence and self-esteem of each protégé while helping to generate an interest by the protégé in a specific field or career. Mentors provide focus for the protégé, helping them to set and attain goals while teaching protégé about respect for one’s peers and how to work as part of a team. By exposing students to new situations, places and people, mentors can broaden a protégés view of the world and help them to raise their own expectations of themselves. Above all else, the mentor/protégé relationship should develop into a personal friendship based on mutual respect and trust.
TO PROVIDE CAREER ADVICE AND DIRECTION
Mentors assist in generating an interest in a particular career by exposing protégés, in a variety of ways, to their own career as well as those of their friends, family members and associates. One of the Foundations CO-Founders, Jeff Rotsky is a Financial Consultant. Through the years his first protégé, Anthony, had focused on architecture as his career choice. With that in mind, Jeff involved his protégé in the building of the house he and his wife, Gina, also a CO-Founder, built. Jeff took him to the site to meet the architect on the project to go over blueprints. Jeff’s protégé also spent many days with Jeff at work, watching how a professional office runs and keeping an eye on the stock of his favorite companies, which now include Nike and McDonalds. Jeff showed his protégé that dedication and hard work can lead to real rewards. Today, Anthony is finishing college at the University of Akron. He is the first member in his family ever to go to college. His brother Aaron was so inspired by Anthony, that he became a member of the foundation. Jeff mentored Aaron for five years & he received a full scholarship to Marietta College.
TO OFFER A NETWORK FOR SUCCESS
Above all, mentors offer their protégés opportunity. They assist students by exploring opportunities, offering introductions to their own contacts and providing letters of recommendation and references for possible internships, scholarships and future employment. Most recently, Sanaata Brown, a past Golden Heart award winner, was hired professionally through foundation contacts. In 2004, she also was the first protégé ever to become a mentor along with her sister Tatiana.
The Ultimate goal is to create a friendship as well as a professional relationship that will allow each student to realize their full potential and to become a successful citizen in our community. The dream, like Sanaata, they come back to Cleveland and become mentors themselves.
Mentor n. a wise and trusted counselor.
Protégé n. a person who is aided in his career by an influential person.