5 Minutes With… Mentor Jeffrey “Jeff” Baskin II


ORLANDO – Jeffery “Jeff” Baskin II is a mentor, mentee, son, brother, friend, an old soul, a loving husband, and a doting new dad. With a plethora of responsibilities, he has intentionally carved out dollars and precious time from his job in sales to show unwavering support for MAN UP Mentoring, Inc. (MAN UP).

In this Q&A, the Florida A&M University graduate delves deep into his love of MAN UP, and shares why he continues to support and invest in Orlando’s youth. As a former youth who was raised in Miami, Baskin expresses a deep admiration for all the work that MAN UP is doing with at-risk youth. He knows, firsthand, the value of mentorship because he found mentors in an uncle as well as an elder in his Miami home church.

For Baskin, MAN UP’s relentless commitment to helping youth discover their potential, is by providing exposure, a stable family-oriented environment, and speaking God’s promises over them. Planting these seeds while they’re still young will enable them to flourish.

Baskin shares that of all the youth groups he’s come across and volunteered with, MAN UP stands out due to their belief in servant leadership, instilling hope, and demonstrating the Father’s love to every child and family they encounter. Here, you will feel the love he carries for an organization that left an indelible mark on his life.

MAN UP Mentoring, Inc.: How did you get into introduced to MAN UP Mentoring?

Jeffery Baskin II: So MAN UP Mentoring was something that my brother, Jamal, who lives in Orlando, was [helping] with through the UCF Volunteers Program, when he attended [University of Central Florida] pursuing his master’s degree. I was looking for something similar to that. He let me know he was mentoring, as well and I just fell in love with the program. It was pretty easy.

MU: What do you feel is the overall significance of MAN UP in the community and in the lives of the mentees?

JB: Each mentee will walk away with a sense of confidence in their abilities. Whatever their abilities are, they’ll have a sense of confidence. They’ll know what they’re good at. And that’s tough even for adults.

MU: How is MAN UP different from other mentoring organizations?

JB: The organization’s foundation is rooted in family, love, and prayer. I think it was the power of both and reminding the mentees that they are fearfully, wonderfully, and uniquely made and that they are the bearers of great purpose. That’s the difference between any of the programs I’ve been a part of.

MU: What do you think is your greatest impact on the mentees?

JB: Being able to show them someone who came from a similar background. When they found out I was born and raised in Miami, and out of Liberty City, a lot of them understood that type of neighborhood and what it was like and how it’s similar to where they live. So there was kind of a badge of approval from them. It was a way for them to see that there is a way out and although they were from an inner-city neighborhood, they do not have to succumb to the ills of it.

MU: How do you think your financial support has helped MAN UP?

JB: I know they’re big on exposure so right now they are trying to raise money for a van to pick up the kids to attend their mentoring sessions, field trips, youth conferences, etc., They’ve been renting vehicles forever. They also want to get their own operational space so they can host meetings, workshops, trainings, events, and serve youth without restrictions. So as they continue, the goals get bigger and bigger. I just pray that I can continue to support those goals as they move forward.

MU: What are your expectations for the mentees?

JB: I want to see all the mentees pursue post-secondary opportunities after graduating from high school get into a training program, go into the military, college, those different things that may seem farfetched because of their current surroundings. To help them, we used to do mock interviews, practice an elevator speech, help them fill-out applications, discuss appropriate attire and demonstrate a can-do attitude which is so important so that we can correct them right now before they enter the workforce. After wrapping up the series, what was most exciting was seeing 90% of our mentees (of age to work) secure jobs at the nearby Publix, Universal Studios, Walmart, McDonald’s and Walgreens all while in high school. Also, just keeping prayer over the youth and for them because that continues to move and push them in a positive direction.

MU: What would you like to see for this organization in the future?

JB: I see them being able to develop satellite locations in multiple places; I see them being able to raise funds in multiple cities; I see them being able to have all those things. I know that God wants them to know that it’s His timing when they’ll get it, but I know that I see them [promoting] on billboards and maybe starting their own type of school in some way. I ask that God gives them an abundance of blessings that will overflow and overtake them.

About MAN UP Mentoring, Inc: MAN UP Mentoring, Inc. is community-based non-profit 501c(3) charity organization primarily serving at-risk youth ages 11 through completion of high school or the equivalent across Orlando, with a focus on delinquency prevention and intervention by providing social, educational and mentoring services. Established in 2014 by Orlando natives, brother and sister duo Christopher and Samantha Wallace. Currently, it is managed by a full-time staff of volunteers and is overseen by a Board of Directors with more than 150 years of law enforcement and civilian experience, as well as advisors from the Orange County Public School System and social services.