Bio Pic Melvin LillyEntering into the 9th grade, Melvin is just beginning to understand the importance of academics. He will be the second child from a family of 11 (9 boys, 2 girls) to eventually attend college. He holds aspirations of becoming a lawyer one day. “I want to help people,” he states. Coming from the south side of Ypsilanti, college is seen more as a hope than a reality for many youth. There are obstacles and challenges that many youth face. “Being able to focus on my grades and getting good grades,” Melvin shared was a challenge he faced the past few years due to juggling responsibilities at school and home in helping take care of his siblings. Melvin has also dealt with bullying as he shared, “people in the neighborhood would try and fight me just because they did not like me.” Since 6th grade Melvin’s outlet has been the Future Leaders Program held at Parkridge Community Center. “[M2Y] has taught me a lot. It gives people a chance to know what they want to be when they grow up; they don’t have to be like other people who join gangs. Mentor2Youth teaches you a lot of lessons and provides support. Shows you why you should not let others bring you down.” Just last school year, due to challenges Melvin was facing, his GPA was 0.65. With more academic support from M2Y, his GPA is now a 3.47 this school year. He decided it was time to step up and be a role model for others. Melvin will be employed for the first time by M2Y as a peer mentor at Parkridge working with youth to give them the same chance he received years ago.