Courtesy of Goodguides
Nicole Page (left) and Kia Taylor (right) helped Tyhna Loveless believe in a better future for herself.
Building Tomorrow’s Leaders Today: Volunteering to work with an at-risk child or teenager for as little as four hours a month can make a difference that will last a lifetime.
Eighteen-year-old Tyhna Loveless has the entire world in front of her. She is on track to graduate from Forest Park Academy this summer. She has a job and is learning how to manage her own money for the first time in her life. After high school she plans to pursue a degree in childcare, and she hopes to one day open her own day care service.
With such promising ambitions, it’s difficult to believe just a few years ago Loveless had no plans for her future and was even convicted and put on probation for fighting in her Georgia school. But that’s when something happened that changed her life forever – her family moved to Roanoke and she met her first Goodwill GoodGuides mentor, Nicole Page.
“Miss Nicole had a day care business and I would come from time to time and help out,” she says. “I’ve liked kids ever since I can remember, and it made me realize I could really do this for a career.
“If I had not joined GoodGuides I think my life would be a lot different,” she continues. “I probably would have dropped out of school, and I know I wouldn’t have a job. But I had two people that I could go to with anything. So I am very grateful, and I hope other people will get involved.”
The second person Loveless mentions is her current mentor, Kia Taylor.
“To see where Tyhna is today, I’m extremely proud of her,” Taylor says. “She wants to achieve greatness, she doesn’t want to be a statistic, which is awesome. She’s learning how to become an adult, and when you see that growth, that is the most rewarding part of it all.”
Established in 2009 by Goodwill Industries® International, GoodGuides is a national mentoring program run locally by Goodwill Industries of the Valleys. The focus of the program is on preparing youth between the ages of 12 and 17 for life after high school, with emphasis placed on students at risk for delinquency or who have already had contact with the juvenile justice system. The program is made possible by a three-year grant from the Department of Justice, which Goodwill just received again, ensuring funding through December 2014, but it still needs community support to succeed.
Here are a few ways you can help:
1. Become a Mentor: “With quality mentors we can provide quality service, and we know they’re out there, it’s just a matter of getting them to us,” says Youth Services Director Stephanie Hoer.
Mentors should be able to commit at least four hours a month for a full year, and all applicants must pass a simple background check, have the ability to drive a vehicle and provide documented insurance.
2. Host a Workplace Tour: “We would love to do some job shadowing and get some companies in the Roanoke Valley to open up opportunities for these kids to see the work field,” says Page (who is also now the current GoodGuides program manager.)
3. Donate a Recreational Space: “Here at Goodwill we do not have one big gymnasium,” says Volunteer Coordinator Sarah Stevens. “If organizations like churches would donate big spaces where we could hold activities, that would be great.”
'To get involved or learn more about GoodGuides and other Goodwill programs, call 540-581-0620 or visit goodwillvalleys.com.