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Ericka Cross was looking for an outlet where her son Kyle could be positively mentored. She wanted a program that would drive home even further what she taught him at home. That’s when she heard about Mentor2Youth at Parkridge Community Center.


“I liked it because it helped with self esteem and encouragement. This program is goal-oriented and encourages students to find their voice because they get to speak with others, learning how to properly control what they say and how to interact with others,” says Cross.

As an Ypsilanti resident, Cross is familiar with some of issues that plague the development of local children. She wanted her son to be part of an after school organization that prevents him from participating in illegal activity.

“I support Mentor2Youth because it has given children different avenues besides drugs, gangs or alcohol; it prevents them from going down the wrong path, giving them hope and exposure to different things. This program is well-needed because Ypsilanti’s environment is an inner city,” says Cross.

Cross appreciates the different aspects of the program, exposing children to things they may not normally be exposed to such as events, field trips, college tours and more. Also, she likes that this program is filled with mentors and mentees of all races, exposing children to a diverse environment of varying backgrounds.

“I’ve seen my child change for the better after the program because of the positive influences that he has around him, and he is meeting different groups of people, all different races and cultures, exposing him to different walks of life,” says Cross.

Her son’s favorite part of the program? Guest speakers and the mentors themselves. He likes hearing about the different career paths he could choose and it allows him to expand his goals and dreams. He also loves spending time with his mentors, many whom he has bonded with.

When asked what she hopes for the future of Mentor2Youth, Cross replied, “I hope it expands to different regions. I am going to speak to the principal of Kyle’s school and introduce the program – it’s well-needed. The man responsible for keeping Parkridge Community Center’s doors open did so because he was in a similar program to Mentor2Youth there that changed his life – the center inspired him to look outside the box and make his goals larger. Similarly, Mentor2Youth gives the kids hope in expanding their goals.”

Ericka Cross praises Mentor2Youth and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for our program.

~S. Sine