Moving up: Gary Graham
Gary Graham, Mentoring Initiative Director of Children's Services Council and United Way of Palm Beach County. (Gary Coronado/The Palm Beach Post)
Mentoring can be an effective intervention and prevention strategy for many issues that face many kids, says Gary Graham, the Mentoring Initiative Director for Children's Services Council and United Way of Palm Beach County.
Kids who meet with a mentor regularly are 52 percent less likely than peers to skip school and 46 percent less likely to use drugs, according to a study by Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America.
On Jan. 17, National Mentoring Day, Graham
helped United Way of Palm Beach County
launch its M2K Challenge.
This initiative asks the community to help raise money to sponsor 2,000 children to be mentored for one year at $2,000 per child.
The goal, Graham
says, is to expand the Mentor Center's reach
to create positive change in the lives of 2,000 more children, in addition to those already participating in funded programs.
Currently, the Mentor Center
provides oversight to six programs as well as the Palm Beach County Mentor Network, serving more than 2,000 children annually.
Born in Miami, Graham says his early ambitions were to become a neurosurgeon.
But when he
found out how many years he
would need to be in school to achieve that goal, he
Before coming to work for United Way in October, Graham worked for the Mentor Center at Children's Services Council.
was there when his
mother shot the intruder.
"I absolutely never wanted to become a police officer," he says.
"But I always liked helping people and teaching them."
first job after college was with the American Cancer Society
established a program to help patients get transportation to and from their cancer treatments.
For more information about the program, sponsoring a child or becoming a mentor, contact Graham
at firstname.lastname@example.org or (561) 375-6638.
favorite quote: "Never force anyone to change.