Early Mistakes Lead to Life's Purpose

To reach youth, speak their language.

February 01, 2011
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The most important quality of an effective mentor: True compassion. To be effective, your desire to help must come from your heart. Many people fake it so they can say they “mentor” someone, or so they can list it on a résumé, or have a cool Facebook status. Others keep in touch with the kids or leaders and go back to follow up. They build bonds that actually change lives. Those are the real mentors.

My taste in music: My radio is rarely on the same station and it depends on my mood. The only kind of music I don’t care for is hard rock. It makes me feel like my blood pressure is rising. And I can’t understand the words, so I don’t get any type of story from it.

A secret from my past: I left my date at the prom! A group of friends and I talked the limousine driver (whom my date had hired) into taking us to an after-prom party at the beach—without my date. He never talked to me again. I know I owe him an apology, and hope I’ll get the nerve to do it someday.

A New Year’s resolution: I want to start a “rookie running club” for families who want to train for and complete a 5K race together. This activity combines two important pursuits: quality family time and fitness. Anyone who has run a race knows that the feeling you get when you cross that finish line is priceless. You feel like you can accomplish anything, and then self-efficacy takes root in other areas of life.

“Bucket list” activities: Personally, I want to run a full marathon. I completed a half-marathon in October. I also want to be on a talk show one day (for something positive). Professionally, I’d love to take one of our youth programs to a national level, where youth from around the country can compete, showing off their financial knowledge. Think “Junior Apprentice.”

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