More Than One Way to Support Youth Mentoring

danielle sackie mensah

Danilelle Sackie Mensah: Architect, designer extraordinaire, and Polished Pebbles volunteer

Over the years, as we’ve continued our work with Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program, we’ve been fortunate to have our work supported by a network of 300+ volunteers within the Chicagoland area, and across the country.  So often lots of people always say to me that they want to support our girls by mentoring at our Saturday and after school sites.  But, like all of us, there’s other priorities in life that can sometimes prevent us from making that level of commitment.  However, I wanted to share a story of one of our volunteers who decided to contribute to our work even though she couldn’t come out and physically mentor our girls  at one of our sites, but Danielle demonstrated that there’s always more than one way to support youth mentoring!

Meet Danielle Sackie-Mensah.  She’s a Florida native that has recently relocated to New York to pursue a career in Architecture and Urban Design.  After graduating with honors, obtaining both a Bachelor of Architecture from Florida A&M University and a Master of Architecture in Urban and Regional Design from the New York Institute of Technology,she has accepted a position as a Project Manager with a local PM firm.   Danielle’s ambition in life, as a designer and aspiring architect, is to practice architecture and urban design at various scales and ultimately becoming the Founder and CEO of her own design firm.   In her spare time, she works on freelance and personal projects that feed her creativity and satisfy her urge to design.  

Through a mutual friend, she’s followed our work with Polished Pebbles for quite some time, and asked if there was anything that she could do, using her design talent, to support our work.  I jumped on the opportunity and emphatically said yes.  Every March we celebrate Women’s History month in Polished Pebbles by holding a career panel with notable professional women throughout the community.  This year, we were fortunate to include on our panel Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL), and two Alderwomen, Pat Dowell & Leslie Hairston.  This year we also wanted to begin educating girls on the history of women in the workplace, and the strides that women have made to achieve more equality in the work environment.  We had discussed creating a timeline that girls could use as a tool to learn these important dates.  I thought about it, and pitched this to Danielle as a perfect project that she could work on in her spare time in NY, and have a tremendous impact on our girls here in Chicago. Danielle agreed, and we were blessed with this wonderful product below.   The timeline was well received and appreciated by both the girls and mentors, and can be used as a teaching tool throughout the year.  

timeline

When it comes to support youth through mentoring programs, I’m a strong believer in the phrase, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.”  So, if supporting youth is your aim make sure to find a program that you want to contribute to, and honestly share with them how much time you can commit to, and the full extent of skills and talents that you have to offer.  In challenging times, there’s always a need for more resources, talent, and skills to make changing lives through mentoring a reality.

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