Deavonie and his mentor KeithWhen mentor Keith showed up for his first Learn & Earn workshop, he sat next to the mentee who seemed, at first glance, the most different from himself. Fast forward three years, and that young person—Deavonie—has become a central person in Keith’s life.

Deavonie was also skeptical at first, not knowing what to expect from a mentor: “The sense of having someone who I could call a ‘mentor’ didn’t seem right because I did not have real role models in my life or supportive adults.” Fortunately, that tune has changed for D, who now calls Keith his family.

“Having a mentor means a lot to me because they’re someone you can rely on for life advice and if you ever need someone to just hear you out about the normal day-to-day. Me and my mentor have had long talks about the future and what I plan to do with life. We set some goals to help me get to where I want to be, and slowly but shortly accomplished those,” Deavonie reflects.

Mentor Keith agrees: “I used to worry that because we came from such different worlds, I wouldn’t be of much use to D. But I have learned that it doesn’t matter. What does matter is the friendship and acceptance we share. D’s life experience challenges me and his questions make me think. I can’t always answer them, but I hope it just helps for D to have a sounding board.”