TeenQuest alum Angel Mangham has a deep passion for architecture and design and plans to be a licensed architect in the future. The 2019 Mott Middle College graduate has always had an interest in architecture, so much so that she even wrote an essay as a young girl about how she didn’t need to be a singer because she could build a stage.
While she always knew what she wanted to be, Mangham wasn’t sure what her future was when she started TeenQuest. She took the program when she was fourteen and loved it so much that she continued by working each year through Summer Youth Initiative (SYI).
“I got a call back from two places, the Mr. Gaines’ Garden Program and the (Flint Public) library, and I chose the summer gardening program and ever since then that’s where I worked,” says Mangham. “I worked until I was an adult, and I became a supervisor there.”
Mangham attended Mott Community College graduation and there she received three associate degrees. She has since gone on to the University of Detroit-Mercy to pursue architecture. There, she received her bachelor’s degree and is pursuing her master’s degree with the plan of opening a firm eventually.
“When I graduate, I’ll be an entry-level architect and I’ll be studying to get my license in architecture.” Says Mangham.
When asked about her time in the SYI, she says, “Mr. Gaines always says – I’m not just teaching you how to garden, I’m teaching you how to go through life. Every day we’d recite our daily speech, and it was about being empowered and how we’re here to work and we’re going to bring something back to our communities, our families, and our schools.”
Mangham loved her time with SYI and became a team leader and eventually a supervisor.
“Everyone I know that went through the program had a good time,” says Mangham. “You learn those skills that you just keep and go with you. It was a great program.”
Do you have a memory or moment that stands out from the program?
I liked the volunteer days. Those were some of my best times. Now you are seeing everybody at this huge picnic event and serving the community. It was super fun.
What advice can you offer current and former students of TeenQuest/SYI?
Believe in yourself. Be prepared. Always be ready to market yourself. You are number one. It’s about what you want. If something doesn’t feel right to you don’t do it. You don’t get anywhere without taking risks.
What is your proudest moment since graduating TeenQuest?
Getting my bachelor’s degree, and I’m about to get my master’s. I’m the first in my family to get that. I’m proud of myself for putting myself out there.