Sam has been investing in the lives of high schoolers in Harlem for the past year and a half. All of the mentees in the program are African American young men from neighborhoods across three boroughs of New York City who go to a highly sought after charter school just north of Marcus Garvey Park. This past week, Sam heard a story from one of the mentees we had to share with you all.
This past week, Mills, a veteran mentor was sharing. As an African-American male who grew up in Harlem long before it was cool to live in Harlem, he had a poignant message to share with the young men in the program. Mills works as a banker, and has some very famous clients, including P-Diddy (he is a rapper who has gone by Puff Daddy and Sean "Puffy" Combs, but to Mills he is P-Diddy). Mills obviously grabbed the young men's attention talking about P-Diddy, but his whole point was to encourage the young men to make hard decisions now in life. Decisions that go against the grain of what their peers and to some extent, the culture around them, are pushing them to be. One specific bit of information he shared was how to surround yourself with quality people.
After he was finished sharing, Jamal (not his actual name) stood up to respond to what Mills had said. Jamal is new to the program as a sophomore, and he shared how two weeks ago during our last mentoring session a tragic incident happened where one of his friends was shot in a gang violence situation. He was shot through the mouth and went and the bullet pricked part of his spinal cord. His friend is alive, but his future is very much in jeopardy. The crazy thing that Jamal shared is that had he not been physically at the mentoring session, he probably would have been there with his friend. Mills talk, and the fact that he had been spared from this violence, really hit Jamal. We are very encouraged God is moving in the lives of these young men. Continue to pray that God uses Sam and the other mentors to not just live a better life, but to the best life of knowing Jesus the King.