Lecture: Determined to Educate; Determined to Mentor


Stephen Powell, Executive Director of Mentoring USA

Tuesday, September 01, 2009




Mentoring is a movement that requires ‘inspiration’ and a critical part of being inspired is recalling the importance of one caring adult or peer who has made a difference in your life. It is this constant personal recollection of my personal mentors that inspires me to do the work that I have been doing with Mentoring USA for the past four years. I must admit, I am a bit relentless when it comes to mentor recruitment, but I am this way because I firmly believe that there is a role for everyone to play as we strive to repair our broken communities, one mentee and one mentor at a time. As my dear friend and mentor, Susan L. Taylor, says it best: ‘we need all hands on deck!’

January 20, 1978 would be the date that served as a catalyst for me to do the work that I am so passionate about today. This was not the year that I was born; it was the date that my father unexpectedly passed away. And while at the tender age of 5, I did not understand what death was, I felt a huge emptiness and void for years to come. Despite losing my father at such a young age, I was blessed to have a mother who would teach me how to be respectful, loving, discerning, God-fearing and empathetic. Yet even with all the love and nurturing efforts of my late mother, I felt a strong desire to connect with a male mentor to just simply serve as an active listener and a trusted guide during my teenage years. As fate would have it, through my involvement on the track and field team in high school, I found male adult mentorship from a wonderful and dedicated coach and peer mentorship through the older members on the team. It was through this mentoring framework that I would learn how to set and achieve goals while essentially preparing a blueprint for life.

Teaching a mentee to see the world through a different lens-by sharing a new perspective or helping to shape how one can turn life’s many challenges into triumph-is an essential role of a mentor. This seed of optimism always blossoms into a beautiful fruit when a caring adult is present to simply be a guide.
Never underestimate your ability to inspire our future leaders by simply sharing a little time, 4 hours a month-with a deserving child at a church, community center, school or foster care agency. Volunteering 40 to 48 hours per year is nominal compared to what we stand to lose if we remain apathetic about serving our children and our communities. Become a mentor. It will change the life of a child-and yours.




Stephen Powell is the Executive Director at Mentoring USA based in New York, NY. An alumnus of the Institute for Not-for-Profit Management Executive Education Program at Columbia University’s Graduate Business School, Stephen remains driven to lead program expansion and technical assistance efforts for Mentoring USA across the nation in major cities such as Los Angeles, Houston, Las Vegas, and also in Newark, NJ. Prior to joining Mentoring USA in 2005, Stephen worked in program development and management for local and national non-profits such as: Family and Child Services of Washington, DC, VSA arts/Kennedy Center, the Anthony Bowen YMCA, Youth for Understanding, the Metropolitan DC Police Boys and Girls Club, and the Harlem Educational Activities Fund.

Touring the U.S., Africa, Europe, and South America, Stephen Powell spent 10 years performing, holding workshops, and completing artist residencies via a percussive-based dance troupe, called Step Afrika, which was developed through his college fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha at Howard University. Down the line, Stephen cultivated a passion for procuring celebrities and athletes to support causes for young adults. Inevitably, this passion led to becoming the Founder of PQ Concepts Sports and Entertainment Consulting LLC.

A native of New Jersey, Stephen was born and raised in Newark and East Orange, respectively. He now lives in New York City with his wife/Broadway actress Marlaina Sims-Powell and their two year old daughter, Sinclair Adina. Stephen also still remains an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Xi Lambda Graduate Chapter, National CARES Mentoring Movement and the Association of Mentoring Professionals.

Please submit all questions and comments to Stephen at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Determined To Educate, Inc. would like say Congrats to Stephen Powell and Mentoring USA on recieving a $50,000 donation from NBA All Star Alonso Mourning.