Metro Detroit mentors help students prepare for winning futures

Winning Futures helps high school students prepare for life

Students find career path through local group

DETROIT – Showing students specific career paths is just as important as schooling itself, and that’s the goal for one Metro Detroit organization.

High school is an important time in a child’s life, and thanks to mentors helping them navigate, Metro Detroit students are working toward having a winning future.

“I just thought about, ‘Let me make a difference, a huge impact within the community,‘” high schooler Damarious Johnson said.

Johnson is getting ready for his sophomore year in high school. At just 15 years old, he already knows what he wants to be when he gets older.

“I want to be a mortician,” he said. “A licensed mortician and embalmer.”

Yes, you read correctly. He wants to work with the dead, and he has his parents’ full support.

“My parents think it’s wonderful,” Johnson said. “My parents think I’m going to be making history within the family.”

He has been working with a mentor to lay out a five-year plan for his life. Mentoring is the goal behind the nonprofit “Winning Futures.”

“We work together with the business community and educators to help young people (find) the career that they’re really excited about and help them with the tools and support to one day go and secure that type of job,” Winning Futures CEO Kristina Marshall said.

With the organization in its 26th year, Marshall said it works to build mentor-mentee relationships between high school- and college-aged students and those who have come before them.

“Mentoring is just an amazing gift that an adult can give a young person,” Marshall said. “A mentor gives young people extra encouragement, extra support and sometimes they are kind of windows of what life could look like for them.”

Winning Futures has helped 49,000 students like Johnson. For him, it’s made all the difference.

“My mentor has helped me in so many different ways,” he said. “For example, he has actually been like a father figure to me at school. He has actually helped me think about my education, what do I need in life and what kind of career do I want? He taught me attitude is everything.”

Winning Futures is 100% free for students. The mentors are in a number of schools across Metro Detroit, but more mentors are always welcome. Click here if you are interested in volunteering to make a difference in the life of a student.