On Friday, October 2rd 2020, DonCARES Mentor Madison Brown and her 12th grade mentee India enjoyed a meal at Butcher and Singer in Rittenhouse Square. The purpose of DonCARES restaurant outings is to give positive dining experiences for both mentees and their mentors. As an organization, we make sure that mentee leave outings knowing how to calculate a percentage tip to their server.
As the middle child of a single mother, India (10th grade) always wanted a bigger sister. As an active Philadelphia Futures Scholar, India was in search for a mentor to help guide her through her high school experience. Madison (sophomore) is a motivated student at Temple and joined DonCARES in the summer of 2018. Both India and Madison were matched in October 2018. Since the two became friends, they've built a resume, completed school work, explored post-secondary education options, gone to the 2019 Philly Auto Show, the movies, TGI Fridays, The Dandelion, and Reading Terminal together.
DonCARES recognizes Lizandro Urena as the September 2020 DonCARES of Philadelphia, Inc. Mentee of the Month. Urena was selected because of his commitment to his education and his perseverance in dealing with life's challenges. Urena is currently a rising Senior at The U School and has been a member of DonCARES of Philadelphia, Inc. since October 2017.
DonCARES Executive Director Donovan Forrest met Urena after a Man Up Discussion at The U School in October 2017. Since knowing Urena, Forrest and his team introduced him to acting opportunities, Philadelphia based entrepreneurs, and professional development workshops. Forrest and Urena's teachers at The U School are proud of him and all of his accomplishments.
Updated: Oct 3
Thank you for five great years of mentoring impact. As the founder and executive director of this beloved organization, I have found it at times, extremely hard to process the recent change in season. DonCARES has in many ways been a lifejacket for many of our students' dreams including my own. In mourning what I thought for so long was the end of our mission, I limited communication to those who needed to hear from me the most. In recent weeks, however, I've found my encouragement.
Over the past five years, we've spoken in over twelve schools, held over twenty speaking events, matched over forty students with mentors, fought food insecurity, sponsored essay contests, hosted block-clean ups, hydrated the homeless, helped over one-hundred students create resumes, and even connected our students to internship opportunities in the fields of fashion, theater, and more.
With our track record, I shouldn't have anything to be sensitive about. However, with change comes a myriad of feelings. If there's one feeling I'm sure of it's the pride and joy I've felt witnessing the positive and edifying relationships between our mentors and our most important stakeholders, our youth.
By focusing on the positive moments centered around our programming, I've decided to remain connected with our most important stakeholders. While this is not the end of my work with high school students in North Philadelphia I want to express that I will be stepping down from my position at DonCARES on October 15, 2020, without a successor.
I want to make this one thing clear: this is not a goodbye but a grand beginning. I am certain that in some ways we have set a kind of blueprint for college students nationwide to follow in vulnerable communities. The execution of our mission was unique and it was undoubtedly supported. For this, I have immense gratitude to all of our donors, volunteers, partners, and cheerleaders over the years. You made our work meaningful and impactful.
As we move towards brighter days, I wish you nothing but success in the future and hope that you carry the spirit of DonCARES with you in your philanthropic endeavors that are so much appreciated in our community.
Yours in Service,
DonCARES of Philadelphia, Inc.