The foundation of the First Serve program are the mentors. We hire, train, and equip them to work in their own communities, serving the children around them.
We quickly learned that bringing in mentors from outside environments, no matter how well-intentioned, no matter how great their ideas were, no matter how well-connected they were, was not the solution. Their impact was limited, because the children always saw them as outsiders looking in. As someone who was unable to understand the circumstances and lifestyles that these children were apart of.
Once we created an opportunity to empower high school students from these same areas, the entire model changed for good. Our dream for the community doubled once we realized that we had the opportunity to make a difference in another generation: the teenagers. We changed the trajectory of the program by paying and preparing these mentors to work with elementary and middle school students in their own community.
Now, we are seeing the tremendous impact of this mutually transformative relationship. With every new location, we are able to pay and empower more high school students, all while equipping them to become the leaders that they were born to be.