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Dear Mentee…

Hello Sylvie, it’s me, your mentor!

I am so excited for this amazing experience for you to begin! As your mentor, I want to help make your college experience something you will cherish forever.

You don’t know this yet but you are in for a crazy year. You’ll experience heartbreaks, laughter, new friendships, new roommates, missing home and of course hard classes.

I want you to know something, I will be here for you NO MATTER WHAT. I have promised myself that your happiness is my number one concern for next year. I want you to be able to come to me with any question imaginable at 4 in the morning, I want you to feel comfortable enough to cry to me when you need to, and I want you to know you have a friend.

LAS is an amazing opportunity. Without it, I honestly do not know where I would be at this moment. Freshman year is very difficult, however, with the support of the LI you can accomplish anything.

I also want you to know that my whole cohort is here for you. Especially my roommates. You can come to any of us at any time and we will be there for you. The resources on campus are unlimited.

I know you are going to be successful by yourself. You are an amazing individual, but I want to make it easier for you then it is for a lot of people! I want you to be the best you can be, and I will be there to help you.

You are beautiful, smart, talented and sweet and I cannot wait to learn more about you. It is going to be a wonderful year creating endless amounts of memories with you.

Love your Mentor,

Riley

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Mentor Reflection

200c7786f2457944ee83b90562ba03daAs a new freshman, life on campus can be hectic. I remember the feeling of not knowing anyone as I walked around campus. I remember not knowing where I was on campus. It is a terrible thing. The one thing that allowed for me to transition into college as well as I did was my mentor.

As an incoming freshman in the Leadership Advancement Scholarship, you are paired up with a sophomore mentor. I was blessed to have an amazing mentor my freshman year. I learned so much from her, and I cannot wait to be able to mentor someone next year and give them the same knowledge that I received.

To prepare us to be a mentor, our LDR 200 class participated in a Mentor Workshop. I had ideas of what I needed to do, however, after the workshop, I had a better idea of what being a mentor entailed. I am prepared to listen to my mentee, and I am prepared to dedicate time to them all year.

I am looking forward to having a mentee so that I can teach them things going into college that I wish I would’ve known. It is such a scary process, and going into it alone can make it worse. I am looking forward to teaching them, however, also learning from them. Being a mentor is such an amazing way to learn about yourself. I will be such a great example for my mentee, and I will push myself even further to be the best student and role model I can be.

I am preparing myself to be a mentor in a variety of different ways. Not only am I taking pictures of my current dorm room now to share with my mentee but I am already thinking about important facts and tips that I can share with them. I am also preparing myself by talking about how I am going to treat my mentee with others. I want the people around me to hold me accountable. I want to be the best mentor and role model possible.

Now that I have gone through the mentor workshop I have discovered things that I need to work on. Before next year I want to stay in touch with my mentee and provide support throughout the summer. I also will introduce him/her to other mentors that can provide them help as well. I cannot wait to give someone the gift that I received last year. The gift of friendship, love, and guidance.

Community · Leadership Development

LEAD Team Reflection

For the Leadership Advancement Scholarship, we are required to participate in a LEAD team. This means your group up with other LAS grades and perform some kind of service project or activity. This was something I was most excited about coming into my freshman year. I was ready to work on a project with people who care about it, just as much as I do.

IMG_5977My LEAD team this year was Relay for Life. We were challenged to create a table at the annual Relay for Life event hosted at CMU each year. We had to raise as much money as we could to be able to contribute to Cancer research. I was very nervous about this team because I had never participated in Relay for Life before. I had been to a few walks, however, I did not understand how it all worked. It was really amazing to work with my fellow team members to raise money for such an amazing cause.

My roommate lost her grandma to cancer. I have seen how it has impacted her in so many ways. She was also a part of the Relay for Life team, for me I felt like I had a purpose. It was such a rewarding feeling, working with my best friend in a cause that she cared about so deeply.

I raised over one-hundred dollars for the cause and worked the event. Working the event was one of the most rewarding parts of this team. It was such a fun day. Everyone’s leadership abilities shined throughout the day. I was able to stop walkers to take a picture with our sign and get them to buy a t-shirt for a donation. I was fun to be abe to talk to different people and learn about their survivor stories. During the day we also had a “Pie the LI” event where the walkers could come and pie us for only two dollars. I was pied a couple of times. It was definitely worth it in the end.

IMG_5972I learned so much from this experience. I learned how to raise money, how to work with a team, what Relay for Life is, and I also learned a new passion of mine. I want to continue to work with this organization and raise money for this cause.

Now that I have experienced a LEAD team first hand I cannot wait to do it again. I will encourage my mentee to be excited about the LEAD teams, and I will hopefully be able to be a part of the Relay for Life team again in the future.

Community · Leadership Development

LAS in the D Reflection

On February 10, 2017,  74 LI members and I took off towards the beautiful city of Detroit. Yes, this trip was a requirement for my scholarship, and yes it looks good on a resume, however, I know for a fact that 75 students WANTED to go on this trip, and that 75 students lives were changed.

For my Leadership Advancement Scholarship, we are required to participate in the LAS in the D service trip. Every year the freshman cohort travel to Detroit to participate in service projects, such as working with students from Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and helping out CASS social services. This trip is planned by an entire LEAD team, put on by students. This trip was so amazing because of this special set of upper-classmen students and I cannot thank them enough for their hard work and dedication to this trip.

On Friday, February 10th at 10:30 the bus took off to Detroit. One of my favorite parts about service trips are the bus rides. Laughing and making memories with my cohort is a huge part of what this scholarship is about. When we arrived at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy we were all feeling the same emotions: excited, however, nervous. Jalen Rose Leadership Academy is a charter school aimed towards leadership. They use leadership in much of their studies and are also emersed in the culture of college. It is located on the Northwest side of Detroit and reaches 400 9th-12th grade students. Our job at this school was to get in groups with the students and participate in initiatives. Initiatives are small activities aimed at broadening your mind. They usually have a metaphor to relate alongside them. Their purpose is to teach a lesson in a fun way.

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Partaking in Initiatives alongside the Jalen Rose students was such an amazing experience. These kids know more about leadership than I do as a college freshmen. They have been immersed in so many leadership theories that I am just now being introduced to. They are some pretty incredible kids. Each and every one of them were excited to be there, and they had the desire to learn.

After working with the students at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy we drove towards downtown Detroit to have dinner at Quicken Loans. Driving downtown Detroit was absolutely mesmerizing. I had only traveled there as a kid, and I never really appreciated how beautiful this city actually was. When we arrived at Quicken Loans we were taken to a modern conference room where they served us Chicago Styled pizza and other goodies. We were lucky enough to have a CMU alumni, who was a recruiter at Quicken Loans, give us a presentation on the internships they offer there. Fortunately, the Vice President of Quicken was eating with us, and he took over the presentation. He demonstrated WHY he worked for Quicken, not what they do there. This was intriguing to most of us college students. He was so very passionate about what he and his company were doing for Detroit. They are not just a mortgage company, they are rebuilding Detroit. I thought that this stop on the trip was so amazing. The people that work for Quicken Loans have a reason for what they are doing, they come to work every day with a passion and drive to make a difference. The Vice President of Quicken Loans, John Fikany  actually left his job at Microsoft to work for Quicken Loans because he believed they had a better WHY for why they went to work every day, “Everything they (the Quicken Loans leadership team) stand for aligns very well with what I want to be a part of, how they take care of their people and the company culture over there, They have a sense of humility but also a confidence and grit that’s almost startup-like”- John Fikany.

After the amazing presentation put on by Quicken Loans, they took us on tours around their facilities. Their buildings and offices were above and beyond amazing. It looked like a play place for adults. Their culture at Quicken Loans is centered around family, fun and hard work. You can tell by just walking around their buildings that this company cares for its employees.

After our time at Quicken Loans, we traveled to the Detroit Institute of Arts to bond with our cohort and appreciate the art together. I bonded with everyone so much trying to figure out our way around the museum, and taking pictures with each other. It was such a great experience appreciating the art and recognizing how beautiful Detroit is.

After a long day of service and touring Detroit it was time to head to the Outdoor Adventure Center where we planned on sleeping. The Outdoor Adventure Center was created to provide the city of Detroit with the up north feel. It was created to open the minds of city folk to how amazing the outdoors actually are. Sleeping at the outdoor center was such an amazing experience. Not only did we get to tour the facility, and play on the structures we also got to listen to Linda Walter give an amazing speech about how the only way Detroit is going to keep improving is for people like us to have a dream and to bring businesses to the city.  It was very inspiring to witness her passion for what she does at the Adventure center. This trip was one to remember because I got to witness people in leadership explain their why statements. All of them had a dream or a reason WHY they were doing what they do. It only inspires me more to create and act on my WHY statement.img_2090

The next morning, as we all rolled out of bed, we all complained how tired we were. I complained, of course, however, after washing my face and putting my hair up I reflected back on WHY we were in Detroit. We were there to make a difference, my WHY for the weekend was to “be the change”. So I instantly decided to change my attitude and look forward to the busy day ahead of us.

On the last day, we were volunteering at CASS Social Services. They do a multitude of difference things to help the community. Saturday was the day I had my revelation of WHY we were there. As we drove to the other side of the city where things were not as nice as the GM building or Quicken Loans, I realized that I was making a difference. img_2043We drove through streets with buildings crumbling, trash all over and abandoned vehicles. It was an eye opener to see how differently people on this side of the city lived. It made me want to volunteer even more than ever before.

At CASS Social Services there were three groups, the paper shredders, the kitchen staff and the floor mat makers. I was lucky enough to be a part of the floor mat makers. It was really interesting to me because they used recycled tires that littered Detroit to create intricate mats of all different colors. They employed people with disabilities to allow a better future. I thought that was really inspiring because not only were they cleaning up img_2089Detroit from littered tires, they were also providing jobs for those who could not work a real one.

During my time making the mats I was able to talk with a man that worked there. It was really neat to hear his story. He told me his WHY was “to see kids like us working for common good”. I thought him expressing how thankful and inspired he was to see us volunteer was, even more, motivation for me. I want to inspire others to do good in the world. I want to “Inspire others to see themselves as the change in the world”.

Overall this trip was more than just a typical “service” trip. I learned more about myself, my why statement and Detroit than ever before. I have come to realize that you cannot change the world overnight, however, if people have a WHY statement or a DREAM things will be accomplished. I have 100% faith that Detroit will rise up again in my lifetime and I owe it all to the people who love Detroit as much as the people I met on this trip.

Now that I have been on this trip and I have been able to reflect more and more, I have decided that now I am going to be more aware of other people and the lives that they live. Going to Detroit opened my eyes. Everyone in the world does not live the life that I do every day. It is now more important to me to help other people, even if it is a small deed, everything counts. Life is too short to be selfish. Now I am more aware and I have a drive to help. I am going to bring up Detroit to my Rotaract club to see if there are any service projects we could do to help. I am hoping that we can do something with the money we have raised to help the city of Detroit. My goal is to raise awareness and allow people to see WHY people are so passionate about helping Detroit.

Community

Mentee Be Together <3

Mentors are all around us. A teacher, a coach, an older friend are all people that at some point in our lives we used as a resource to better ourselves. Whether that be through a mentoring program, at school or in a sport the mentor is always there for you to lean on. The Leadership Advancement Scholarship provided me not only with the millions of opportunities to make me successful they also provided me with an amazing mentor. For the program, I am in img_0300the sophomores mentor the incoming freshman and help them adjust to the college life. Then a couple weeks into the school year the mentors and mentees all go to a retreat at Eagle Village.

My mentor is Ijeoma Agomo. She is the most extraordinary, kind-hearted, loving person I have ever met. I remember meeting her on competition day. She was the person that was there for me and helped me get img_0302through the stressful day. She talked with me and laughed with me. She made me realize I belonged in this program, she made me work even harder so that I guaranteed a spot in LAS.

Of course a few long grueling months later everyone else started receiving their mentors yet, mine had still not contacted me. I got more and more anxious by the day. Then finally she tagged me in a photo on Facebook telling me I was her Mentee. I could not have been happier.

After a few weeks of college, Ijeoma and I went on the Mentor/Mentee retreat. There we laughed, loved and bonded with one another. At the camp, we did many team bonding exercises. It was really cool to watch my mentor step up to the challenge and pretty much lead my entire group.img_0301 She was very inspirational to me that weekend. On the last day of the trip, we went on a high ropes course. Ijeoma made me attempt things I would never have attempted without her. She made me brave, and she made me confident that I could do anything.

Now that I have seen how a mentor should act, I am going to use my knowledge to mentor my mentee like Ijeoma mentored me. I cannot wait to be a role model to someone, I cannot wait to be a mentor.

Ijeoma is not only my mentor, she is my mom away from home, my sister and now one of my dearest friends. I am so blessed to have had this opportunity to be paired up with such an amazing person. We were MENTEE BE TOGETHER ❤