Sightseeing. A periodic tour of CVI news, views and events.

Mentoring with STARS

Charles Mason photo

CVI’s STARS program has been a very important part of my life, and I have had the pleasure of serving as a mentor for three and a half years now. I enjoy interacting with youths of all ages and missed that interaction from my earlier Summer Camp group counselor and collegiate youth ministry days. Thankfully, STARS Counselor Lorenzo Powell brought this wonderful program to my attention.

I believe that STARS has a profound impact on young people by allowing them to freely express themselves in a plethora of ways. Whether it be theater, creative writing development, or music, students are able to showcase their respective talents and enhance their level of self-confidence and independence, all while forging strong friendships with their peers in a fun-loving and safe environment.

STARS studentsWhen I became a mentor, I clearly understood how the program benefits the students. However, I now realize how beneficial it has been for me as well. I too am able to express my creativity, and have been able to continue to hone my leadership skills. One of the most exciting experiences that I have been a part of during my tenure is the annual Spring Retreat. I have attended the outing for two years now, and have been able to engage with the entire STARS family while partaking in team-building activities, dancing, fellowship, and just plain-old FUN!

The greatest reward of all has been the opportunity to watch my friend and mentee Brandon Soncoeur grow from a freshman to a proud senior. This year, he became a graduate of Lithonia High School. It is a true privilege to have him as a friend, and from the very beginning there was a sense of great cohesion due to our similar interests. We have visited movie theaters and bowled several times among other activities. A great joy of mine was joining the Soncoeur family for dinner. They are an incredible group, especially his mother. Their solid foundation of love and fine mentorship is continued when Brandon visits his STARS family.

He is a very determined individual, and seeks to become an entrepreneur. He aspires to open a lounge which he has already named. Some day you may find yourself indulging in fine cuisine and the pleasant ambience of “Soncoeur 300.”

I encourage you to become a mentor. Every volunteer is appreciated, and being a male, I implore more representatives of my gender to apply. Combined with the tremendous guidance of the STARS staff, your participation and influence will help to make these students’ futures shine even brighter!

For more information on CVI’s STARS mentoring program, call 404-875-9011.