SEATTLE, Washington (May 10, 2010) – Washington State Mentors announced Hazel Cameron the 2010 Champion of Mentoring. Cameron is the Executive Director and cofounder of the Clergy, Community, Children/Youth Coalition (4C). The 4C Coalition is a faith-based mentoring agency for youth overcoming obstacles, setbacks, and mistakes to pursue opportunities for achievement, options, and fulfillment.
The 4C Coalition formed in 1999 to address racial disproportionality in Seattle’s school dropout rates and the numbers of youth involved in the King County juvenile justice system. Since the inception of the 4C Coalition, Cameron has performed every role involved in developing the 4C Mentoring Program, from recruiting, training, and matching mentors to mobilizing community stakeholders to sponsor programs for safe and healthy communities. The 4C mentors are volunteers. They make a one-year commitment to spend an hour a week with their mentee. Mentoring relationships often become lasting friendships. The mentees are referred to the 4C Mentoring Program from the King County Superior Court and the City’s Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative Program. Typically, the youth are on probation or at risk. A number of youth are assessed at low-medium to high risk to reoffend.
As a counselor in the early 90’s with the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA), Cameron helped pioneer evidenced-based mentoring for youth “too hardened to reach.” In the years Cameron was with JRA, research showed a 35% reduction in recidivism among mentored youth. Cameron’s work might be described as a race with time to match mentors with waiting youth before drugs, violence, or long-term incarceration claims them. The 4C tradition has been
one-on-one, gender-matched mentoring. Recently, however, the 4C Coalition has gained the space and staff to offer group mentoring, extending its reach to more youth in less time.
In addition to leading the 4C Coalition, Cameron serves as Chair of Washington State Mentors Provider Council and on the Board of Directors. In 2008, Cameron invited Susan Taylor to bring the National Cares Mentoring Movement to Seattle. Thus began the Seattle CARES Mentoring Movement, a resource for local mentoring groups to recruit qualified mentors. Cameron is the Chair for Seattle Cares Mentoring Movement. Cameron’s dedication to youth is a reflection of her profound authenticity and humanity. Six years ago, she lost her eldest son—a high school junior with plans and promise—to racial violence exacerbated by alcohol. At a party, he intervened to stop the harassment of a classmate. It cost him his life. Cameron and her husband and other children met their unfathomable loss with unwavering commitment, heightened urgency, and compassion for all youth impacted by violence—victims and perpetrators. The Cameron family honors Glenn, their fallen son and brother, by going forward with like courage. “I am excited to tell you about our vision!” Cameron begins. “To pull together our diverse community to take on the issues that impact our youth—involvement with drugs, alcohol, prostitution, and gangs. To speak a common language and collaborate to implement change.”
On May 21st, Cameron will be recognized at the Washington State Mentors’ annual Champions of Mentoring Benefit Luncheon on the ms Zaandam cruise ship at port at Seattle’s Smith Cove, sponsored by Holland America Line.