ORLANDO – My Childhood Mentoring Story Part I, is a series introducing the founders of the youth mentoring organizations participating in the inaugural NW Orlando Mentor & Volunteer Recruitment Fair on Thursday, October 26th at Ivey Lane Park Recreation Center from 5p.m. to 7pm.
The first Q& A in this series features Ms. Renette Clark, the founder of the Brooke Jenkins Dream360 Center aka Dream 360 Center. The mission of the Dream 360 Center is to create a safe space for underserved youth where they can be inspired to dream and plan for their future.
As a child growing up in the inner city of Orlando, Clark never had a place where she felt safe, where her dreams could be unleashed. By the time she was a teen she was faced with violence, disappointment, and negative influences which led her on a downward spiral. Here you will uncover a bit of Clark’s triumphant journey.
MAN UP Mentoring, Inc.(MU): Who was your mentor as a teen or young adult?
Renette Clark (RC): You know, I didn’t have a real-life person growing up as a mentor. The only mentors I had were on tv at the time and they were rappers and singers.
MU: How did they most influence your life?
RC: What I do remember wasn’t good because I strongly desired to do everything they were doing. I wanted so badly to be like them that I began to dress and act like the individuals I saw on tv.
MU: You don’t recall anyone influencing you positively in your life?
RC: Honestly, I had no one, not even a teacher, to speak life into me. My family told me, I would never amount to anything because I was a troubled teen. So, I entertained what was entertaining me, the tv.
MU: What was a turning point or defining moment that changed the course of your life?
RC: God, and He wasn’t introduced to me until I went off to college at 18 years old.
MU: What was the hardest lesson you learned early on?
RC: The decision you make early in life can affect your future.
MU: Is there any advice you were given early on, that you are still applying in your life today?
RC: I never had a mentor or a positive adult influence. My mom and family were so disappointed in me that the only words I remember growing up was, you will never be anything.
MU: How has your community perspective changed or shifted after volunteering or working with at-risk youth?
RC: I see the need. I see the responsibility and I understand that it really takes a village/community to help our youth.
MU: What makes your organization unique or sets you apart from other at-risk youth mentoring programs?
RC: We are a faith-based organization, that focuses on helping our youth build godly character while giving them the right tools and resources to pursue their dreams.
MU: In six words or less, describe the overall significance of mentoring at-risk youth.
RC: To bring transformation.
About Brooke Jenkins Dream Center 360 (BJDC 360): The Brooke Jenkins Dream 360 Center is a non-for-profit organization located in Orlando Florida. With a goal to empower and inspire at-risk youth to dream for their future regardless of their current life situations or circumstances. Through self-discovery enrichment programs, we hope to help BJDC 360 youth clearly define their purpose, build strong character traits, leadership skills, and positive self-awareness. For more details, please visit www.idream360.org and follow us @idream360orlando
About MAN UP Mentoring, Inc: MAN UP Mentoring, Inc. (MAN UP) is community-based 501c (3) organization and an affiliate of My Brother’s Keeper Orlando primarily serving at-risk youth ages 11 through completion of high school or the equivalent across Metro 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 an executive director, contractors, and a full-time staff of volunteers. MAN UP 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. Visit manupmentoring.com