Science has shown that a single trusting and committed relationship with an adult can permanently alter a young person’s life outcomes and point the way to success. At Paths to Possibility 2019, Juma staff, Board, supporters, and friends came together to celebrate twenty-six years of fostering those relationships at Juma. Mentorship, alongside the tools to earn a paycheck and learn financial management and life skills, is just what young people need to connect to their next step forward in work and in life.
Illustrating the power of those trusting relationships, Donna, a Juma alumna from Sacramento, shared how her relationship with Claire, Juma Sacramento’s Site Manager, transformed her life. “When I joined Juma in 2016, I was moving up very fast and with each promotion came new responsibilities,” Donna said. “Claire played a big role in helping me through that. We had a meeting every week and in those meetings sometimes she would have informational and developmental trainings for me. She would give me tools to apply in my personal life as well as my professional development.”
With Claire’s help, Donna persevered through tough circumstances on and off the job. Today, as an Assistant Enterprise Manager, she onboards new Juma youth and directs the workflow at events. Donna also pays it forward as a mentor. When she met Steven, a shy young man with a great work ethic, Donna knew she had to push him to be his best. At Paths to Possibility, Steven discussed his experience and how he credits Donna with much of the responsibility for helping him break out of his shell and change the trajectory of his life.
“People have looked past me my whole life,” Steven explained. “When I first joined Juma I was very shy, and Donna was very welcoming to me and to the other Jumans that I was working with in my cohort. Donna broke my shell and without her I wouldn’t be doing any of this…I don’t think I would be in Juma at all. I’m grateful for her mentorship and I’m proud of where it got me and where it’s going to get me.” With Donna’s help, Steven overcame his fear of talking to new people, gained confidence, and earned a leadership role at Juma.
Alongside Donna and Steven, Warriors legend, Hall of Famer, and Olympic Gold medalist Chris Mullin took to the stage to tell his own story of mentorship in the tutelage of Hall of Fame inductee and former Golden State Warriors Head Coach, Al Attles. Adriane Armstrong, Juma CEO, also told the story of her own first job and how everyone needs support in accessing opportunity.
At Paths to Possibility, with the help of a dedicated community of supporters and friends, we raised over $350,000 to continue providing opportunities for youth to grow these integral relationships and skills. In 2020, we look forward to hiring 1,000 new youth who will meet new mentors, build relationships, and learn the skills they need to become mentors themselves. Thank you for your continued support as we strive to break the cycle of poverty for youth across America.