Donovan Livingston was one of the original mentors for Movement of Youth when the organization was first getting its start; he was involved with the program from 2006-2009.
When asked what he gained as a mentor for the organization, Livingston says that Movement of Youth gave him a profound understanding of himself and his personal interests. “At the time, I was struggling academically, and looking for ways to give back to the surrounding community. Movement of Youth was my first opportunity to reach out to students and encourage them to avoid the mistakes I had made, and to be unafraid of setting high expectations. Movement of Youth was my first opportunity to pour into the lives of young people. I had no idea that our mentees would teach me so much about myself in return,” said Livingston. He says that some of his favorite memories with Movement of Youth include participating in dance marathon with the mentees, overnight campus visits, and college acceptances. The one that he cherished the most, however, was driving the van on Saturday mornings. “It’s a mentor’s responsibility to cultivate a positive attitude among the students they serve. I believe those rides in the van truly set the tone for remarkable experiences each week,” said Donovan. Ultimately, his participation with the organization laid the foundation upon which he constructed his career in education.
After graduating from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Donovan began working for the National College Advising Corps. He served as a college adviser at Dudley High School and Ben L. Smith High School in Greensboro, NC. He then moved to New York City to work on his Masters in Higher and Postsecondary Education at the Teachers College at Columbia University. Upon graduation, he served one more year with the National College Advising Corps at New York University. He was placed at an all-male high school in Bronx, NY, where he served as a College Adviser, Basketball Coach, and Poetry Instructor. The following year, Livingston returned to his home state of North Carolina to work with the Obama Campaign as a field organizer. After the election, Donovan felt eager to get back into the field of college access and success. Ultimately, his professional journey led him back to UNC, where he currently serves as the Academic Advisor for the Upward Bound program. Donovan still remains in touch with Atrayus and truly appreciates the experiences he gained from Movement of Youth.
Maya Dantzler is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Advertising.
She has been involved with MOY for a combination of three years; she was a mentee with the program for two years during high school, and has been a mentor with the program for one year.
Maya says that, in high school, she did not think UNC-Chapel Hill was an option for her. She says that the university was not necessarily presented to her as a place that she should earn her degree. She joined Movement of Youth during the fall of her 11th grade year. Through the biweekly sessions at UNC and the mentorship, she built a relationship with a UNC student that allowed her to grow personally and professionally, and pushed her to apply to the university.
Maya rejoined MOY as a mentor during her sophomore year at UNC. She said she wanted to give back to a program that gave her so much. This year, as a junior, Maya has taken a larger role in the program as the Communications Director. In this position, Maya must facilitate and correspond all communication between mentors, mentees, parents, and board members.
North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University’s Movement of Youth site, led by Site Director David Reavis, has a new project in the works.
The A&T MOY site is partnering with GPS, a North Carolina distributor of industrial use materials. David says that Movement of Youth executive director Atrayus Goode introduced him to the CEO of GPS, Antonio Wallace. He had an opportunity to connect with Wallace and discuss opportunities for growth of the program, as well as a partnership with the company. Ultimately, this partnership will provide the students with the opportunity to learn about the industry, as well as potentially lead to internship opportunities that the students can apply to in their respective fields of interest.
As an engineering major, David understands the importance of exposing students to careers in STEM. He says that, through the partnership, he expects the A&T MOY site to grow. “Ideally we want to see the opportunity thrive and enable both Movement of Youth and GPS to develop. There’s a need for youthful insight within the company, and a need for our students to be exposed to a professional working environment. This could be an excellent marriage,” said Reeves.
Moving forward, A&T’s Movement of Youth site will be looking to launch in the spring with it’s first group of mentors. David says that the members of the new site are excited to become part of the movement, and not only change the lives of the mentees, but to ensure equal opportunity for growth of the mentors as well.
“I believe in the power of the program, and wish to facilitate exposure to a professional etiquette, present opportunities for professional development, and plant a networking seed they can continue to expound upon post graduation. More specifically, I would like to include resume workshops, a professional dress fashion show, dining etiquette sessions, money management workshops, useful tools to success workshops, keynote conferences, and, most importantly, make the entire experience enjoyable for students and parents!” – MOY Site Director, David Reeves
The A&T Movement of Youth site has a lot of big plans on the horizon. We are more than excited to welcome them to the MOY family!
Movement of Youth participant and Durham Tech Middle College High School senior Inestin Petit-Homme was presented the Hard Corps Service Award and the Mayor Service Award on Tuesday, September 30. The Hard Corps Service award is given to students who complete at least 50 volunteer hours during the school year, while the Mayor Service Award is given to students who complete at least 100 volunteer hours during their summer break. Petit-Homme was presented these awards by Durham’s very own Mayor Bill Bell. The ceremony took place on Tuesday, September 30 at Durham School of the Arts.
In addition to the two awards that he received that night, Inestin will also receive the prestigious Gold Presidential Service Award, which is given to students who complete 250 volunteer hours in a 12-month span. Petite-Homme says he was able to complete all of his hours through participation with nonprofit organizations including Movement of Youth, Durham County Teen Court, and C.A.A.R.E Incorporated. Inestin has a dedication to public service that deserves the highest levels of recognition.