180 Life Connection- Mentoring- August 11, 2010

Posted: August 11, 2010 in Uncategorized

I needed you when I was 14.

“I needed you when I was 14,” said Smoke, (Melvin Williams).  That sums up our relationship.  For the past 4 years I have known and loved Melvin.  He was standing in the gym of the high school when I first saw him, baggy pants, Tims, gold chain and a long decorative t-shirt. He was standing with the head coach of the basketball team, trying to get in the pick-up game during what is called open gym.  Smoke watched as the basketball game was going on, not able to participate because he wasn’t eligible.  Not eligible to play in an open gym because his grades were not good enough.

Ninth grade 3 times, drugs, dealing, absent……

He goes to a great suburban high school. Most students are on the college tract.  Coming from Macon, GA, he is in his junior year and 18, struggling with “school”.  Not the thinking part, but the how to “do school” part.  Lost his dad a year earlier to a violent death, mom struggling to make ends meet, Section 8 housing, plenty of distractions in the neighborhood.  He is bussed into the cross-town school, not necessarily buying in to the “suburban style” system, in fact not understanding the culture of that which is called “Suburbia High School”.

Anger is written on his face as he stands nearby trying to play, he asks and is denied the opportunity. I walked up and stood with coach, Melvin, and a few others.  I walked over and introduced myself with, “I know who you are”. Through the anger ridden face I could see what he should’ve been:  A young vibrant student enjoying the high school life.  But instead there is frustration, bitterness, and contempt written all over him.  He is not alone.  There are many more students like him, they are lost in a world that doesn’t work and a life they didn’t choose.

Melvin is an example of someone who needed an anchor.  He is now 20.  I continue to mentor him.    It will be a lifelong relationship.

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