Thursday, January 22, 2009

Doing Our Part - Giving At-Risk Youth an Opportunity for a Better Life!

January is Mentoring Month and we are being asked to help our youth! Youth with challenges and disabilities need our help to ensure that they are given opportunities to serve and to contribute. They need help in taking the next step, in exploring interests, and in transitioning from school to work or to higher education.

At the beginning of the year, I reflected on my blessings and the good people who have mentored me along the way. I remember being a High School Senior with a dream of attending college. My parents encouraged me to dream and wanted me to have opportunities that they did not enjoy. Neither had finished high school and they knew that I would need special guidance to get there myself.

I remember my Mom made a special effort to connect me with Mary Lu, a college student with whom she worked. She orchestrated a meeting time and brought us together to work on my college application. Mary Lu, just a junior herself, helped me to pull my goals, hopes and aspirations together and write my college essay.

I am convinced that I would not have been admitted to college without Mary Lu's help. With her support and suggestions, my college application was completed, and a couple of months later I received my letter of acceptance! I jumped with joy and thanked God for bringing me the help I needed. My life took on a new direction and was forever changed thanks to my first mentor, Mary Lu.

In the intervening years, I have been mentored and mentored others in my career. Along the way, I have shared dreams, received encouragement and learned lessons that have made a positive difference in my life and in the lives of others.

President Obama urges every American to stand up and take action. Together we can to help our youth and help our country. Michelle Obama has a message waiting for you here ...

Do you have a Mary Lu in your life? Do you remember a mentor who made all the difference in your life? Will you join me in taking action to support our youth and country? Will you consider becoming a Mentor and opening up opportunities for our at-risk youth?

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