Mentor of the Game: Al King, Jr.
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How long have you been a mentor? I have been a mentor in the Memphis City Schools Connect Mentoring program since 2006. Being the elder brother of two younger brothers, I’d say that I have been a mentor for about 40 years. As a son and father, I know first-hand the importance of guiding children with a firm, yet loving hand.
Why did you get involved as a mentor? I’ve always believed in “the village.” We are all in this gumbo pot together and, we have to love and nurture our children, our future leaders. Mentoring is a love-love relationship where you get to share your expertise, as well as, your experiences, good or bad. I benefited from many great mentors; my parents, school teachers, college professors, coaches, church and community leaders.
I feel blessed to be able to give back. As a Christian it’s a great commission or duty to mold children to do good so they will keep the ball rolling and in turn, help others. Times got tough sometimes, but I’m humbled and proud to say that I’m a father of two accomplished children, Alcide III is a lawyer and Anita Barbette is a Senior Accountant. I know what it takes to inspire young adults to believe in themselves and to push to pursue their goals.
What do you enjoy about being a mentor? First, I enjoy the opportunity to give some of the blessings that I’ve received to my mentees; my time, guidance, love, expertise, experience, joy, and leadership. Secondly, I feel that I get so much back from them; they share their dreams, goals, friendliness, talents, laughter, tears and just themselves with me. It’s kind of like having the fun and joy of being with your grandkids, then saying goodbye at the end of the day!
What would you say to inspire other adults to become a mentor? I did not become a mentor for personal gain, even though I do gain tremendously from my experiences with the students. To inspire other adults to become a mentor, I want to say, “Be an asset to your community- Do the Mentor Thing.” It is worth your time, energy, and effort. You will be giving, but you’ll get back great dividends! Share your experience and knowledge. Become invaluable in the life of a child, or the lives of children today. You have the gift to make someone who may feel insignificant, significant. Help a child; brighten his smile, as you use best practices as he’s preparing for a bright future!