DonCARES Executive Director Donovan Forrest met his mentee Sequoi on a cold Thursday morning in late January 2019 during a group mentoring session for young men at The U School. The first interaction between Sequoi and his future mentor was when Forrest taught him to tie a necktie. That was the first meaningful interaction of many.
"That first interaction was over a year ago, and since, we've accomplished so much as a match. From discussing healthy methods of dealing with personal and external conflicts, creating resumes, to working on essay submissions for our first and second annual Sadie T.M. Alexander Social Justice Essay Contest, we've done a lot." Forrest says.
Sequoi, a 16-year-old Sophomore at The U School in North Philadelphia is originally from West Philadelphia. An introspective student, Sequoi is well-known for taking advantage of any educational opportunities presented to him.
Placing first place in both the first and second annual Social Justice Essay Contest, Sequoi was encouraged to participate in the essay contest sponsored by DonCARES. After spending a few weeks on preparing his submission, Sequoi successfully wrote an essay that encouraged others to support a cause that advances social justice in contemporary society. On February 26th, he earned both a certificate signed by DonCARES Executive Director Donovan Forrest and Assistant Director Cameron Battle-Bradshaw and a $100 Visa Gift Card. on a topic relating to social justice
During his meetings with his mentor Don, Sequoi refers to the non-profit's offerings for him and his peers as: "Sturdy." A slang term meaning: Kind, loyal, or humble.
Bonding over their shared love for music, justice, and education, Sequoi and Don have discussed everything from government to college-life.
After PSAT testing at The U School on Wednesday, October 16, 2019, DonCARES Executive Director Donovan Forrest and Sequoi hung out at the Howard Gittis Student Center at Temple University, ate lunch at Chik-Fil-A, and shadowed Forrest's Senior Seminar class at Temple.
Forrest, a Senior Secondary Education Major and a former Student Teacher at Frankford High School in Northeast Philadelphia introduced his mentee to his Professor, Dr. Benjamin Talton, a black male academic with an impressive track record of writing and scholarship. Dr. Talton, an Alum of Howard University, a close friend of Ta-Nehisi Coates, and a Brooklyn Native was excited to meet Sequoi and asked his opinion on the current state of America.
Sequoi stated that if America was a Monarchy, the King would be dead as a result of a lack of accountability from Parliament. However, on this day, Sequoi believes that the president and current administration won't be held accountable for their tyranny and that America is in a very dark place.