Eight years ago, Dennis Williams-Mitchell was a freshman taking TeenQuest at Grand Blanc High School. At the time, he had no idea that he would one day be facilitating the program with his former facilitator and mentor Richard Hatcher.
“It is an amazing feeling coming back and being able to teach others the same things that got me to where I am today,” says Williams-Mitchell. “I know that the skills from TeenQuest are things students are able to apply to every area of their lives.”
Williams-Mitchell knows because he has used them in his own journey. Working as Education & Training Facilitator for Flint & Genesee Education & Talent, he says that he used the tools he learned and connections he formed in TeenQuest to land an opportunity to represent the area at the Aspen Institutes Forum for Community Solutions for two years in a row. From there, he was hired by Flint & Genesee Education & Talent to work with Flint & Genesee Opportunity Youth Coalition, and since then, he has expanded his role to include working on other initiatives including TeenQuest and Flint Promise.
“My goal is to become a director of youth services that oversees youth projects and initiatives to impact lives of youth all over the country,” says Williams-Mitchell. “I am working to pursue that by sitting at the feet of those who are doing that now to be able to gain wisdom and position myself around like-minded individuals.”
Williams-Mitchell continues to work toward his goal while finishing a degree at Morehouse College from which he plans to graduate in 2024.
There are two main lessons that drove me to where I am today. One, not just showing up but being present in the room. Two, taking pride in my appearance. I learned early that I should dress how I want to be addressed.
Making sure I ask questions. A lot of people feel the interview process is one way, but it’s a mutual exchange. Also, being able to make sure I am prepared, researching the company and being able to share my goals and achievements.
My facilitator, Richard Hatcher. My time in TeenQuest was the greatest thing because I was able to learn from an individual that looked like me and had pride in what he did.
I would tell them that their right now is not their next and that they have to make sure that they’re preparing for their next, right now.
Being able to give back to the next generation of students.
TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
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