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Lady Yvette Williams
Brookins Community A.M.E. Church has united with the Los Angeles CARES Mentoring Movement to assist young people in South Los Angeles.
Recently, Mrs. Yvette Williams, first lady of Brookins, shared with Sentinel Contributing Writer Juanita Holcomb why she joined with Executive Director Barbara Perkins to champion this cause in the African American community.
LAS: Why are you so passionate about this effort?YW: I am enthusiastic about working with the Los Angeles CARES Mentoring movement because I know firsthand the difference mentoring can make in the life of a young person.
And the good news is you're never too old to develop mentoring relationships. I have personally benefited from mentors growing up and I still rely on wisdom from several trusted advisors today.
In the book, ‘The Richest Man Who Ever Lived,' author Steven Scott points out, and I concur, that seeking wise counsel is one of the best strategies to achieve a life of great success and personal fulfillment. He states "counselors and mentors are anyone who can provide the needed insight, advice, wisdom or any practical help for the effective achievement of a specific project, goal or dream."
Statistics even show that having a mentor greatly increases one's success in life. Proverbs 15:22, says, "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed."
So while we must properly discern the advice we're given, no one achieves true greatness alone.
LAS: What is it about this program that inspired you to take on a leadership role to ensure its success? YW: I was motivated to partner with Los Angeles CARES after observing the awareness and recruitment work they were doing in the community. I was impressed by the fact that they engaged in an inclusive ‘village' approach to garner support. I had the opportunity to hear Susan L. Taylor, the national founder who has been an advocate in our community for years, share her vision for this movement. Also, I heard Barbara Perkins, executive director of the Los Angeles affiliate, call for support from civic and corporate organizations.
I felt called, as a faith-based organization, to get involved. I realized we could make a difference and have greater influence if we combined our resources with Los Angeles CARES because of their established network in this area. As a church, it is our God given responsibility to serve others.
LAS: Can other churches and ministries participate in this program?YW: I definitely encourage other pastors and first ladies to get involved with the CARES mentoring movement. I strongly believe in the African proverb, 'Each One, Teach One' and it's not enough to talk about our faith, but we must demonstrate it by our actions.
We are constantly inundated by negative statistics that plague our youth. We can help reverse those trends by volunteering just one hour per week as a mentor. Most of us will lose more than an hour each week driving in LA traffic.
Making the time to instill hope, by example, through teaching is an investment we can't afford not to make. Our very future depends on it.
To get involved and learn more, visit the CARES Website at www.lacmm.org or call (818) 833-0363.