Thomasville Times Enterprise

February 1, 2013

Mentoring impacts lives

Natalie Fultz
CNHI

THOMASVILLE — In honor of National Mentoring Month, the Project Excel Youth Mentoring Program, Inc. along with the Thomasville City Schools held a luncheon recognizing mentors on Jan. 29 at Thomasville High School.

During the celebration Aalliyah Washington, Victoria Mack, Keith McIntyre and Guneshia Smith shared what mentoring has meant to them over the past eight years.

“I’ve been involved with Project EXCEL since eighth grade,” Washington said. “I’m a senior now, and as I look back it’s been a great experience. I’ve received great advice, and it’s been nice having someone to talk to.”

Sabrina Boykins-Everett, Thomasville City Schools Superintendent, and Todd Mobley, principal of Thomasville High School, also spoke about the impact mentoring has in the lives of youth.

Project EXCEL Youth Mentoring Program is a school-based youth mentoring program that began with students in third and fourth grade at Jerger, Harper and Scott elementary schools.

Keith McIntyre has been involved in Project EXCEL since sixth grade.

“It’s been a wonderful experience, and I appreciate all my mentor has done for me,” McIntyre said. “Having a mentor is like having another best friend that you can talk to.”

McIntyre’s mentor, Karen Hickey, has enjoyed getting to know McIntyre for the past six years.

“It’s been a pleasure to know and associate myself with Keith,” Hickey said. “He is a bright young man with a great future ahead of him.”

Sixteen students, who have participated in Project EXCEL, have graduated from high school and are now in college pursuing careers in the military or workforce.

Project EXCEL is a non-profit tax-exempt 501 (C) 3 organization.

Over the past four years, the program has been sustained through private donations.

The purpose of the program is to empower youth to make positive life choices that will allow them to make the most of their personal and academic potential.

“The best advice I’ve received from my mentor, Linda Jones, is to always look forward no matter what’s holding you back,” Washington said.

Project EXCEL mentors have one thing in common. They are committed to making a difference in the lives of children. They are representative of all walks of life — parents, teachers, pastors, sororities, fraternities, business leaders, and the community at large.

Mentoring provides students who might benefit from quality time spent with a caring adult with the opportunity to develop positive relationships with adults who are trained and pre-screened at school.

For additional information about the program or how to become a mentor, contact Dr. Hazel Jones or Rev. Arthur Jones at projectexcel@icloud.com