Mentor Spotlight: Donovan Forrest

Majors: Secondary Education & History

Year: Graduating Senior

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

What is your favorite quote?

"These are all our children. We will profit by, or pay for, whatever they become." -James Baldwin

What extra-curricular activities are you part of on campus? How have they contributed to shaping your world-view and your identity?

In my second month of college, I became active in my campus' chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). I served on two boards at Millersville University and Temple University for a total of four years. My experience as an activist, organizer, and campus advocate showed me that I have a passion for public service as well as the promotion of education in communities of color. With this, I was better able to understand my place as a black man, college student, and activist in order to make my community safer and more just.

How long have you been a mentor at DonCARES of Philadelphia?

I became a one-on-one mentor in January 2019. Prior to that, I served as an Academic Tutor during the 2016-2017 school year.

Why did you choose to get involved with DonCARES?

I chose to become a mentor because I wanted to support a student who was interesting in receiving services from this organization. At the time, we didn't have any male mentors available so I decided to answer the call.

What advice do you have for prospective mentors?

My advice for prospective mentors is to have a clear explanation for your "why" of becoming a mentor. Also, understand that serving as a mentor to a high school student doesn't require you to be perfect however, it does require you to be a good listener, non-judgemental, professional, and consistent. Make sure those are some of your strong suits before applying to be a mentor.

What do you like most about DonCARES?

My favorite thing about DonCARES is company culture. Our organization always finds ways to make its members and partners feel safe, welcome, and appreciated. That makes me proud to be part of this organization's mission.

What is your proudest moment at DonCARES?

My proudest moment at DonCARES was honestly seeing several of my mentees graduate from high school in June 2019. Being there to witness that occasion made me very proud.

What has being in a mentoring relationship taught you about yourself?

Being in a mentoring relationship taught me that I have experienced a lot of challenges for a reason. When I was younger I used to ask "why?" a lot. As I got older, my experiences in relationships, jobs, and academia that once posed as what I believed were: "roadblocks to my success" allowed me to develop the wisdom to help guide my mentee.

What is your favorite part about serving as a mentor?

My favorite part about serving as a mentor is being able to witness my mentee's success. Whether that is graduating from high school, getting accepted to college, or winning first place in an essay contest, every success for my mentee feels like my own.

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