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“I believe that it was Marion Wright Edelmen, who said that; Service is the rent that you pay for being on the planet”, that’s what mentoring means to me. People use the term giving back but for me it’s paying it forward, making sure that you are in a flow of life. That all the good stuff doesn’t just come to you, that you are able to give it out and that way good can come back in, it’s circulated. So, for me mentoring is a way of life.” – Actress Ryan Michelle Bathe (2019 Women of Courage Honoree)

Giving guidance, sharing experiences and imparting wisdom are two key factors for mentorship. An often-forgotten form of service, mentoring provides an outlet for young people to discover who they are and transform to who they want to become. Youth Mentoring Connection has played an intricate part in the lives of the youth in Los Angeles for over 15 years and counting. Founded by Tory LoRe, who has dedicated his life to helping young people find their way, Youth Mentoring Connection has become a staple in the city of Angels by helping to change the outcome of at-risk youth. LoRe and his team have upheld their mission of the Youth Mentoring Connection: 

“ To transform the lives of at-risk youth by caring for their wounds and shining a light on their gifts through an ongoing mentoring community, creative expression, and life-changing experiences; thus inspiring them to become thriving adults.”

Through the success of YMC, they have caught the eye of celebrities who value the mission and giving back to the community. YMC has been able to service over 40 mentees per year and reach over 600+ to date. LoRe says: “YMC gives a community where often times there isn’t one. We create a safe space and a family unit. We counter the importance of education and self-awareness. We ensure that our mentors have the mentees best interest at heart and that they care about them authentically. That’s the only you can be an effective mentor. Is by being authentic and true to your purpose. That’s what has created longevity in this program.”  One of the YMC Ambassadors; Actress Sanaa Lathan says; “The Youth Mentoring Connection has allowed me to see young people become their best and strive for better even under harsh circumstances. Mentoring is a solid way to help be the change in life and to help them see life outside of what they know, being an ambassador has allowed me to forge amazing relationships with the youth of Los Angeles and watch YMC do the amazing work that they do in this great city. Seeing firsthand the growth of the organization and the mentees has been an honor. I know that this program will continue to grow strong, impact more of the great youth of LA and create leaders who will be moved to return the kind gesture of mentoring for generations to come.”

On August 25,2019, YMC celebrated 5 women who have been strong beacons of light as mentors through the program. “Women of Courage”, was a celebration of womanhood, art, beauty and growth. The environment was fun and interactive from the displays of artwork, live cooking stations, knowledge of hope through the medicine wheel and good laughs with guests. Lathan served as the host for the evening that honored 5 outstanding leaders in the program as well as young ladies that made positive changes while being in the program. Honoree’s included; Dr. Deepika Copra, Actress Suzanne Cryer, Tracy Gray, Actress Ryan Michelle Bathe and Dr. Erica Jacquez. Each of the honoree’s serve as mentors in YMC and were awarded based on their service and courage to service the youth as active mentors. Each of the honoree’s had to prepare a speech that would allow them to speak to their younger selves and provide advice, Actress Suzanne Cryer said, “I would tell my younger self, that “Girl you got this”, you are stronger than you know and no matter what you got this. That life is honestly what you make it and under no circumstances shall you give up or fold under pressure.”

 

 

 

 

All images by Kristin Haase | KHaase Photography