Shakira has been participating in Mentor2Youth since the 5th grade. Now entering into 8th grade, this upcoming fall, she had the¬†opportunity this past school year to be a peer leaders with the Future Leaders Program. “I definitely learned how to be the bigger person. It has helped me to better that skill.” She shares it is hard to decide on what her favorite memory was from this past year (so many!), but one that stood out to her was how younger students started to see her as a big sister. “I felt like they looked at me as their role model.” While helping out the younger kids, she has also learned valuable lessons herself. “Through the [Money Matters] workshops it helped me with saving money. Now I have saved up $100.” Shakira cherishes the time she spends with this group an d sees it as more than just an afterschool program.

“M2Y is important because it is more than just a regular group who just comes and runs a program. We are really good examples to the kids that are out here and a lot of kids don’t have someone to look up to. The mentors are friendly and always willing to help. Since I started coming, its more than just a learning environment, its friendly and you feel safe. I’ve learned (this year) its like a small family on the inside.”

She looks up to one of her mentors who attends Eastern Michigan University. As a student at Estabrook Elementary, she holds a 3.98 gpa in school and wants to be a homicide detective. Shakira is well on her way to a bright future.