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At the beginning of his sophomore year, JB joined YMI in hopes of finding a mentor who could support his goals. Before he was matched with a mentor, JB was unsure if the program would be a right fit for him. It took a few attempts before JB was confident in completing the student application. Through the encouragement of a trusted teacher, he met with his campus coordinator and after learning more about what YMI could offer, he agreed to be matched with a mentor. He specifically wanted to find a mentor who was able to support his goal of finding a job. “I wanted help getting prepared for interviews and job applications,” said JB. Not only did he want to find a mentor who was able to support his goals, but also find a caring adult who was able to encourage him as a student.

Soon enough, JB was matched with Tracy Black, and they began getting to know each other and playing games during their YMI time. Eventually, JB started to open up about his desires to get a job and save money. What started as something that JB was reluctant to participate in, soon became a highlight of the week for both JB and Tracy.

With Tracy’s help, JB learned important life skills that helped him reach his goals, even helping him prepare for interviews and applications until he landed a job. “I have been able to make a connection and talk to someone outside of my family, I have a mentor that is able to celebrate my achievements and he has pushed me to set more goals. I love that it has given me more experience with the adult world,” JB stated.

Tracy believes that through his time as a mentor with YMI he has seen growth in JB and himself. As a mentor, he enjoys being able to establish new relationships which help him stay connected with the younger age group, “My kids are grown, and I like being able to reconnect with students – It keeps me level and helps me stay connected with the age group,” Tracy stated. Having a front row seat to JB’s growth has been meaningful as well. “I have been able to see JB’s goals come to life – I’ve seen him work towards his job goals. He has a vision and he wants to keep reaching for his goals,” Tracy said. He especially loves being able to celebrate with JB when he meets his goals and encouraging him to push for more.

Their campus coordinator, Carrie Duer, has witnessed how this encouragement has positively affected JB. “I love seeing Tracy and JB greet each other with smiles each week. I can see that they are truly happy to see one another. I am always encouraged by learning what new and exciting things are happening in both their lives. Tracy is just as eager to learn about JB’s life as a student as JB is about navigating his future after high school getting to see their relationship grow has been a highlight of this school year.”


Lauren Goodyear, YMI Intern