“. . . I wanted to do something better with my life . . .”
“This opportunity made me realize that I wanted to do something better with my life and help young people who are going through the same challenges that I faced at their age.”
I grew up in the foster care system, and lived at
CV from 13 to 18 years old. When I was getting ready to age out, I enrolled in the WAY to success aftercare program, where I met my mentor Robyn Tolliver. For the next 5 years I was making ends meet, but I was unsure what I wanted to do with my life. I just knew I wanted to give back. Unexpectedly, Robyn and I reconnected at a BBQ, and I expressed my interest in mentoring. She brought me on as an unpaid intern to learn the roles and responsibilities of being a mentor. I was able to assist with group preparation and plan how best to engage our program participants. This opportunity made me realize that I wanted to do something better with my life and help young people who are going through the same challenges that I faced at their age.
In the Spring of 2021, I was hired to be a mentor at CV. I was ready and willing to learn from others, but I also bring my own ideas into the mix from my lived experience. When I was a resident at CV and navigating my trauma and stressors, I learned Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), where we practiced mindfulness in our everyday lives. I continue to practice DBT training weekly and I integrate what I’ve learned into my mentoring sessions. Staff in CV’s cottages even reach out to me to help conduct DBT workshops! Having a former resident who was often misunderstood and was missing the skills to sort out disagreements with his peers talk to youth currently experiencing the same situation is extremely healing for me.
While I am still new at mentoring, I am evolving and working towards becoming a more effective leader. By utilizing the skills that I’m learning along the way and integrating my lived experience, I believe that the impact I can make is limitless!
Malik is a mentor in the ICM Plus Mentoring Program, which helps young people in the community who are in danger of entering the juvenile justice system. The program focuses on conflict resolution, building healthy relationships, education, and employment. Malik’s experience is unique and brings tremendous value to his role as a mentor.