By Valonda Roberts, College and Career Connections Program Manager
Being an advocate for young people comes in many different forms. Melissa Binder has been a proud support of Mikva Challenge for years. One of the many things she does is mentor for our College and Career Connections Program. Melissa began mentoring Desaray Crosby when she was a senior at George Washington High School.
In the two years we’ve known each other, I can honestly say that Melissa has changed my life for the better and I do not know if I would be where I am without her.
Desaray is now starting her junior year at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she is an Urban Studies major with a double-minor in Sustainable Cities and Geographic Information Systems. Although the 2-year commitment for the mentor agreement is past due, the two have formed a bond almost like best friends. You cannot separate them. When you ask Desaray about her mentor, she just lights up.
Words from Melissa’s Mentee, Desaray Crosby:
“Melissa Binder is one of the most kindest, considerate, understanding, and selfless human beings that I’ve ever encountered in my life. Every time we get together she never hesitates to ask me how I’m doing and if she could help in any way possible. She genuinely cares and uses her vast amount of resources to better myself both professionally and personally.
In my opinion, I think that we are polar opposites. But that’s what makes us so dynamic and that’s what makes Melissa such a good mentor because it gives me a way of thinking and a way of seeing the world that I would known without her. In the two years we’ve known each other, I can honestly say that Melissa has changed my life for the better and I do not know if I would be where I am without her.”
One of the challenges our students face with persisting in college is the lack of social emotional support, which is why mentors are an essential component to increasing the impact that College and Career Connections has on young people. Mentors show support by building relationships, and offering guidance, support, and encouragement to cultivate positive and healthy development in young people. Thank you Melissa Binder for such a positive presence for our young people.
To learn about how you can volunteer with Mikva Challenge, please fill out this online form.