Mentors ‘pour into’ young people
A forum for young people to interact with local law enforcement was the most recent in a string of events and mentorship opportunities three local men have put together.
Domenick Epps, Albert Hill and Roshawn Holland started mentoring at Lakeland High School and have since branched out to include a Parks and Recreation mentoring program as well as doing it on their own for parents that heard about them through word of mouth.
“We’ve had parents to reach out to us,” Epps said. “Everybody’s just trying to do our part.”
The event on July 23 at the Farm Fresh community room included two local law enforcement officers teaching a room full of young people about how to interact with law enforcement.
“We wanted to teach our kids how to respond appropriately when coming in contact with law enforcement, as well as about their civil rights,” Hill said.
He said the day included discussion about how to “avoid being in those situations and the consequences of making bad decisions in those situations.”
The young people were also taught to remain respectful, no matter what. If they don’t like the way the situation is going, they should file a formal complaint later, “but at no time be disrespectful to law enforcement,” Hill said.
Holland said the mentoring program is important for young people to see three men from the same area who are doing the right things to be successful.
“It’s good for them to see people that look like them that are doing the same things,” Holland said.
Hill added that the mentoring sessions generally talk about positive decision-making, choosing the right friends and the importance of education.
“We want to provide the kids with as much information as possible to be successful,” Hill said. “A lot of these kids can only see what is in front of them. We try to enlighten them. They don’t have to be limited to what they see on TV as far as athletes and entertainers. We push them to be the best they can be.”
Hill said the men have seen a difference in the youth they have mentored.
“We get reports back from parents that really praise us on the impact we had in the child’s life,” Hill said. “That’s what’s rewarding about it.”
A future event the men plan for youth is a bookbag drive and back-to-school session on Aug. 27 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the North Main Street Farm Fresh community room. The young people will learn about the importance of setting goals to do well in school, Holland said.
“It’s us just pouring into the youth,” Epps said. “All of us have busy schedules, but we all are making time to pour into them.”
The men can be contacted through their Facebook page, Enlightened Minds Mentoring.