First-ever Lloyd Carr MVP Mentoring Awards honor five Michigan youth

Mentor Michigan and former University of Michigan head football coach Lloyd Carr have announced the recipients of the 2010 Lloyd Carr MVP Mentoring Awards.

The awards will be given to five youths in Michigan who best exemplify the extraordinary benefits of a mentoring relationship.

''Mentoring can have an impact on young people; often helping them improve their attitude, grades, and relationships,'' said Carr, one of Mentor Michigan's current spokesmen.

''These inaugural awards recognize those benefits and highlight five exceptional Michigan high school students.''

The five recipients are all currently enrolled in high school and are engaged in formal mentoring matches.

Each winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship, courtesy of Mentor Michigan, to attend college or a trade school. An awards ceremony was held on the campus of the University of Michigan on Monday, Jan. 25.

Mentor Michigan is an initiative of the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC).

''The importance of a college education is a significant conversation many mentors have with their mentees,'' said Paula Kaiser VanDam, executive director of the MCSC.

''Mentor Michigan is pleased to be able to help support these young people's future goals and encourage their dreams.''

The winners include:

* Michael Erhart of Iron River. Michael is a 17-year-old senior at West Iron County High School in the Upper Peninsula. He has been matched with his mentor, Ron Sykora, through a program called Kinship since 2004. Prior to Michael receiving a mentor he was a trouble youth - having faced some difficult adjustments growing up.

* Bethany Houghton of Muskegon.Bethany is an 18-year-old senior at Muskegon Public High School. She has been matched with her mentor, Catherine Brubaker-Clarke, for the past year through the Mentor Muskegon High School and Muskegon Rotary Club STRIVE program.

* Beatriz Jacinto-Ventura of Lansing. Beatriz is a senior at Waverly High School. Originally from Guatemala, Beatriz moved to Michigan in the summer of 2008. She has been matched with her mentor, Salena Little, through the Refugee and Undocumented Youth program at Lutheran Social Services of Michigan since that time.

* Floyd Johnson of Warren. Floyd is an 18-year-old senior at Community High School. He has been matched with his mentor, Michael Wacht, since February 2009 through the Winning Futures program.

* Alfred (A.J.) Tate of Lansing. A.J. is a 16-year-old junior at Sexton High School. He has been matched with his mentor, Matthew Kirwin, since 2006 through the Big Brothers Big Sisters Michigan Capital Region program.

The 2010 Lloyd Carr MVP Mentoring Awards fall during the annual Michigan Mentoring Month, an event held every January to showcase the importance and impact of mentoring in communities across the state. Many mentoring programs in Michigan are in need of more mentors.

If you are interested, visit the Mentor Michigan Directory located at www.mentormichigan.org.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

One hour a week can make a big difference in a young person's future. Mentor Michigan supports more than 200 organizations around the state that are changing lives by matching mentors with young people. Mentor Michigan provides those organizations with training and research. It fosters partnerships with businesses, faith-based and nonprofit organizations, schools, colleges and universities, and state and local government to support mentoring. Mentor Michigan also builds public awareness about the importance of and the need for mentors by urging caring adults to ''Pass It On,'' because sharing a little of yourself with a young person can reward both of you with lifelong benefits. Learn more by visiting www.mentormichigan.org .

Published: Fri, Jan 29, 2010

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