Willie and Lehzan are one of the first mentor and mentee matches performed by The Mentoring Project. Willie met Lehzan when Lehzan was seven years old and entering first grade.
This mentor/mentee pair has been going strong for seven years. Along their journey, they've had many adventures - including when The Mentoring Project took the pair to the White House!
After the trip to the the White House, Lehzan's elementary school held a school-wide assembly to hear about Lehzan's trip to meet the president. The previously shy Lehzan bloomed under Willie's encouragement and was able to stand tall on stage and tell his school all about his adventure.
With the help of Willie, Lehzan became a good students. In June of this year, he graduated among the top of his class and is entering a private high school on a full scholarship this fall.
When people ask about their relationship, neither bothers to explain how they started as mentor and mentee and have now melded into family - often Lehzan just says, "he's my grandpa." Willie agrees. Lehzan may not have his blood, but he certainly has his heart.
Lehzan is now taller than Willie, but he still looks up to him as the man who started showing up in his life all those years ago. We wish Lehzan the best year possible as he steps into high school. We know Willie will be there every week with encouragement, wisdom and a smile.
Mentoring works best when a good mentor stands the test of time. What secrets have you learned from mentors who, like Willie, have stayed the course?