PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Temple University student drafted fellow classmates to be mentors for high school students. Eighteen-year-old Ramon Velez sees inspiration for poetry everywhere.
“One moment it could be I just seen a bird flying and it can be like, ‘Cool, I’ll go with that,’” he said to one of his biggest fans, Kevin Jackson.
“He’s a very good writer,” Kevin said.
Ramon met Kevin only a few months ago and they’ve become fast friends.
“It’s like a wall that I built for everybody else broke down easy for him,” Ramon said.
Kevin, a Temple University junior studying electrical engineering, mentors Ramon once a week at the U School in North Philadelphia. For Kevin, it’s an opportunity to both teach and learn.
“I grew up in southern Maryland. It’s a country area,” Jackson said. “Very different than the city, definitely a completely different demographic.”
The mentoring was set up through Temple student Donovan Forrest and the nonprofit he started, DonCARES of Philadelphia, Inc.
“We come an hour a week. We spend time talking with our student mentees about the college experience,” Forrest said. “We help them with their resumes, just about life in general and just provide that support as a friend.”
Since 2015, DonCARES has set up 30 individual mentors of color for students 14 to 18.
“It’s great for other students to see minorities or people who look like them, that have had success in academics and just someone they can look after and see they can also do this,” Jackson said.
After graduating, Ramon will join the Army. He gives Kevin credit for keeping him going.
“Checking up on me to do the work keeps me motivated to actually do the work,” Ramon said.
And seeing them together keeps Don motivated, too.
“It was just heartwarming,” Don said.
Even after Don graduates from Temple, he plans to keep DonCARES going.