Category Archives: Stories

Group Mentoring

We love our mentors…

These mentees are being supported by long time mentors, as well as new 4C trained group mentors. The new mentors are University of Washington student-athlete mentors!

Group Mentoring

Group Mentoring is a new program for the 4C Coalition that is based upon a familiar idea. We believe the group dynamic will help address the shortage of male mentors — an unavoidable result of our firm and necessary policy that the one-one-one mentoring relationship be gender matched between mentor and mentee.

We fear the tragic consequences for society when insufficient numbers of men sign up for the mentorship role, while a large number of youth boys await mentors. Particularly when the wait exceeds a youth’s ability to hang on and resist other influences.

We must address these critical issues:

  • A disproportionate number of youth we serve are African American males who more readily form a trusting bond with African American mentors.
  • Despite our targeted effort to recruit African American men as mentors, few men volunteer to mentor our at-risk youth.
  • Adults who volunteer as mentors appear statistically in this numeric order (highest to lowest):
    1. White women
    2. Women of color
    3. White men
    4. Men of color

UW Student-Athlete Mentors

Ezekiel Turner

Ezekiel Turner, UW Student-Athlete, is a 4C Mentor

“I hope to get a good experience with kids that come from the same background that I came from. I want to mentor kids by providing an inspiration to them,” says Ezekiel Turner, UW sophomore.

Ezekiel who plays safety on UW football team is from the Baltimore suburb of Glen Burnie, Maryland. He came to the UW because of the school, the coaches, and Seattle.  Says Ezekiel, “I love the city.”

One of my academic advisors, Rod Jones, recommended that I consider getting involved with the Group Mentoring program. It is a good idea … it’s something I’m interested in.”

“As mentors, I had both of my parents to always look up to and help me. They are the most important mentors in my life. My coaches from back home are still my mentors and they helped me all through high school and helped me with the recruiting process… I’m still in touch with them.”


Student-Athletes are Mentors

File Mar 31, 9 04 19 PM

UW Student-Athletes as Mentors

Several UW student-athletes are currently serving as 4C mentors.They are participating in a 4C group mentoring program that meets once a week at Yesler Community Center

Interview with mentor volunteer John Ross, a member of the Huskie football team

Where were you raised:  “Born and raised in Long Beach, California.”

How did you get connected with 4C mentoring? “One of my professors suggested I look into getting involved. While I get credit for doing this, it’s not really about the class credit. I’m just interested in nonprofit organization for kids because that’s something I would like to do sometime.”

What is your role as a mentor?  “My role here is to inspire these kids. And, observe how non-profits perform.”

Did you have a mentor growing up?  “I’ve had many mentors and still do. I have really great parents who are my real mentors. I asked lots of people for advice and I consider them mentors. My coaches are also my mentors. My grandmother used to tell me that I have two ears and one mouth and that means you should listen twice as much as you talk. So I listen.”

Note: John and the other student-athletes are participating in the PEN OR PENCIL (POP) Group Mentoring in Central Seattle. The program’s goal is to inform and inspire a modern youth movement of engaged planners, leaders, and decision makers. Serving youth ages 12-17.

Mentors seek to inspire critical thinking, life skills development, and youth activism — encouraging youth to choose the road away from incarceration and toward higher education.

To learn more about group mentoring

Mentoring Matters


Gary Tillery

“I told him to hang up his gloves … and, he did.”

At church, seven years ago, Gary Tillery, listened to a presentation about 4C’s mentoring program. Gary, retired after 26 years as a supervisor at Boeing, decided he’d give mentoring a try.

He attended 4C’s mentor training program. “The training program was very thorough as they went over the dos and don’ts of being a mentor,” says Gary.

After the training, Gary waited two nerve-racking months before being assigned a mentee.

Gary laughs when he says, “during the waiting period, I became very anxious about the commitment … I wasn’t sure that I would be up to the task. I thought that maybe when they called me with a mentee, I just wouldn’t answer the phone.”

4C finally called to let Gary know that they had found a good mentee match for Gary.

“My assigned mentee had a twin brother. Another man was going to take the other twin but he backed out. I felt bad for the other twin, so I agreed to mentor both of these kids,” states Gary.

“It is important to meet these kids at their level, but you have to be careful that you’re not their friend — you are their role model. I had to learn this the hard way. At first, in an effort to relate to them I became more of a pal to them,” admits Gary.

According to Gary, “you cannot be a total authoritarian person because they’re going to resist that. You need to find a way to balance the two approaches. And, of course, every kid is different so you have to be tuned in to them.”

Gary sites two specific impacts he’s had on the boys. “I taught them one of the most basic things —being on time. It’s an educational tool that you do to make your life a lot easier. I stayed on them constantly about being on time, and they eventually got it.”

Another specific impact was on one of the twins, a big strong guy, who could not seem to stay out of fights. Gary kept telling him to hang up his boxing gloves. Turns out this boy moved out of the area, and one day out of the blue, Gary gets a call from the boy, and the first thing he tells Gary is “I finally took your advice and I’ve hung up my gloves.”

Says Gary, “a mentor has to learn as you go along. I can’t give you a map or a book that can lead you down the path, you have to play it by ear. Oftentimes, they just need someone to talk to. The important thing is to be there for them.”