- Success Stories
It is no secret that we are living in a self-absorbed, self-serving culture. Self-aggrandizement as it pertains to American culture can be observed throughout many facets of everyday life including our obsession with selfies, the compulsive utilization of social media to relay personal thoughts, desires, and ideas; and the position taken by many, whether conscious or subconscious, that purports, promotes, and praises an attitude bordering on narcissism conveying, “life is about me, myself, and I.”
Despite this cogent observation, there remains a group of individuals who realize the necessity and personal obligation of recognizing and attending to the needs of others. Rather than self-centeredness, these persons, of their own volition, commit to self-sacrifice and live in the spirit noted by former President, John F. Kennedy, asking not what can be done for them, but what they can do for others.
It is in that vein that “I Am Whole” exists; a beacon, seeking to empower, edify, and uplift those often marginalized, forgotten, or simply in need of care and concern. Not to be mistaken with the “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” mentality, but rather an intentional interest in the development and well-being of fellow citizens.
The old adage remains true, “it takes a village” to raise, train, and undergird others. I believe it’s safe to presume that many of us would not be the contributors to society that we’ve become had it not been for the volunteerism, care, or concern of others. Whether a parent, extended family member, teacher, friend, fellow parishioner, or random stranger, we are all here not of our own merits, but because of the kindness, compassion, and consideration of another.
The need to implement organizations such as “I Am Whole” is imperative. As one who operates a similar outreach of sorts, I see the immediate and long-term effects of mentorship. I can say, without equivocation, there is no greater pleasure nor fulfillment than hearing success stories of adolescent and young adult women whose lives have been directly impacted because of mentoring. The ability to communicate the importance of obtaining an education, having an awareness of social graces, decreasing teen and out of wedlock pregnancy because of abstinence education, and career training have all been tools that have proven beneficial in ways in which only eternity will reveal
“I Am Whole” stands as a figurative lighthouse that will serve as a navigational source for many, and inevitably change the course of countless young women who in some small or monumental way will change their immediate environment, city, state, country, and world as a whole.
Congratulations, Marilyn, as you charter this great work focusing on the needs of others. May you join the ranks of those deemed revolutionary because they sought not to be served, but to serve, and render themselves as vessels/ conduits through whom blessings and the impetus for change freely flows.
I worked with teen mothers, at-risk youth and juvenile offenders for over 20 years. My responsibility consisted of directing programming and staff; however, I enjoyed most mentoring the youth. I find mentoring offers benefits such as stability, consistency, leadership, development and most importantly, investment in lives and futures. In addition, I serve in my church as an Associate Pastor. I am fortunate to mentor those new to accepting the call to ministry. I had the pleasure of writing a book, “Connecting with My Mentor in Ministry”. We are never too young or old to be mentors; someone needs to learn what experience has taught you. Go forth and MENTOR!!!!
When I first met Ms. Mar I was a troubled teen on the wrong path. I was disrespectful not only to myself but to authority figures and my peers as well. Over the three years I spent with this phenomenal woman, she has taught and showed me a many things. The first year I learned a lot of things about myself. First off; I was very quiet and shy, but my attitude went from zero to one thousand in 2.5 seconds. I was set on letting the people that did not like me know I wasn’t one to be messed with. In turn I got in trouble, faced mediations, and suspensions which held me back from seeing my full potential! Not to mention that I was placed on probation; in and out of court. Dealing with me was no walk in the park. Now I want to apologize for that behavior. In my second year I would say I was a little more feisty than before. I was in all the drama and I made sure to be outspoken this time around. Which still gave me the same results. I was a trouble maker and the attention was nice to me, but she still hadn’t given up on me! Call her crazy I know! She has a gift that she sees your potential and tugs and tugs and tugs at you until you see it in yourself! So by the end of my second year, I was a junior in high school and I was able to put my brain to work for once and actually get my stuff done. It felt good to be accomplished, and recognized for everything good I was doing! I started my graduation project early, only to get a jumpstart into my senior year. Over the summer I had a lot of trouble keeping myself focused and on the right track. Now the 2013-2014 school year was coming up and I once again went in with the same attitude! I hated waking up, I hated going to school, and it was always drama. There wasn’t a day that I didn’t end up in her office because of the drama going on with me and other females. I surrounded myself in the negative energy because I was negative myself.
Then a lot of things turned around for me to the point where I was doubling my classes, working, and finished my graduation project before anyone in my graduating class. Now I owe all of this to this woman, because she cheered me on when I couldn’t find the energy to keep myself going. She encouraged me, disciplined me, she showed me and helped me see that I can do anything I put my mind to even if it takes a little more effort then you’re willing to give. She’s made me try again after I’ve failed and she’s picked me up from some of my weakest moments! I have opened up, cried and laughed with this woman. She was the help that I needed and when and if I needed somebody today I know she would still be there! One of the forever people. She never stops trying to make you a better you, most importantly she will never give up on you even when you give up on yourself!
Often, mentoring has offered me the difference between success and failure; positive and negative as well as a simple stop or go in my life. My philosophy about mentoring is there are three positions. First, you have a mentor. A person who is wiser, more experienced, fair, understanding, dependable and will be HONEST with you! Second, is the person you share a mentoring exchange – peer to peer, people you can bounce stuff off of each other. Third, you are a mentor, the person who helps someone to grow and develop through your experience.… you care enough to pay it forward.
I’ve had several mentors in my life who have developed my thinking, influenced my behavior and reminded me that my actions will last longer than me, so I should always move with grace. My first mentor was my mother, who I lost when I was a teenager. However, her wisdom, spirituality, strength, resiliency and the ability to adapt and overcome was amazing. Her essence yet navigates my decision-making, keeps my inner person centered while being a constant reminder to NEVER give up.
My mentors, such as my family, business associates, a few good friends and some military leaders have inspired me and reset my compass to guided me through various situations. I value and appreciate my mentor, their contributions and caring have made me a healthier, more improved and a further advanced Nancy R. Hornsby.