I became a member of CfY in order to engage with my community in a more meaningful way. I believe you get out of life what you put in, and volunteering with a healthy organization that attracts a diverse group of people is a good start. Add to that, teenagers for spontaneity and energy, as well as clear vision and good leadership, and you’ve got a chance to participate in something special. The experience has changed me by teaching me just how creative and resourceful people can be when they’re supported. I’m no longer surprised when I see a group of students pull off brilliant skits or tell poignant stories with 45 minutes or less to prepare. I’ve also had to put myself out there and perform or show some kind of vulnerability with not much prep time, which has helped me ward off stagnation and kept me young at heart. I think my favorite part has been the totality of the experience as a whole. Being in the community for four years as a mentor has been an honor. Each year is different based on the idiosyncrasies of the participants so it never gets routine, but it is reliably amazing to watch the group and the individual members change and grow as the year goes on. It’s also been great to have the same student mentee for the last three years and to be able to stay with him in the community throughout his entire high school career. Attending his graduation and celebrating that achievement with his family was awesome and it is a memory I will cherish always.
– Darryl Graham, Mentor 2013-2017