Marcus Harrison, 19, remembers the time, a couple of years ago, when his mentor made all the difference in his world, and probably his future, too.
It was SAT week, and Marcus was worrying about taking the all-important test that would determine whether he would get into college.
“I was stressing. I called Mark (Lounsbury, his mentor through Pathways Danbury) and he started telling me ‘Marcus, you’re a smart kid. You’re prepared. You know you can do it. You’re just psyching yourself out. Stay calm and focus, and you’ll do great.’”
“He got my head back in the game, and I stopped my whining,” Marcus said. “He was always there for me. Always.”
Today, after having done “pretty well, actually” on his SAT, Marcus is studying Public Health at Franklin Pierce College. He says the mentoring relationships he had through Jericho Partnership had a life-changing impact on him.
“I am ten times more on top of the world,” he said. “That people took the time to see my personality and spend time learning how I would function best, is really great. They give you guidance that most kids don’t get to have.”
Marcus credits his tutors at S.A.Y. Yes! with helping him through math (“my worst subject), and Mark Lounsbury with giving him a place to take his problems, especially when he didn’t want to go to his parents.
“I learned a lot of life lessons that made me stronger,” he said. “This program creates fantastic people…people who mentor others, and people who were mentored. Mark is a fantastic person and I want to be just like him. He’s got a great job, with a beautiful family and he drives a nice car; I want that for myself, and he’s a great role model.”
Marcus also said that, these days, he’d do anything he could for Mark. “I tell Mark, ‘I’ll give you anything you want, because you gave me everything I needed.’”