Portsmouth organization seeks more male mentors

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – A local organization in Portsmouth that focuses on young people needs help from the community.

The Up Center needs more men to participate in its Team Up mentorship program. The facility has been in the community for decades and they coordinate the Team Up Mentor program.

Parvel Auguste, who is a real estate agent, recently became a mentor because he wanted to serve others.

“Pay it forward, as my brothers helped me too,” Auguste said.

The Up Center has approximately 100 children on the waiting list to participate in the mentorship program and approximately 90 are young black boys.

“It’s important to have adults from all walks of life, because we have kids from all walks of life,” said Rebecca Miller of the Up Center.

Advocates report that when a child has a mentor, there are significant positive changes in their behavior and grades.

“When you have someone who looks like you and has been through what you’ve been through, that makes all the difference,” said Up Center’s Jessica Simmons, who has distanced herself from most of her family members.

Even if someone has made mistakes in the past, they can still become a mentor. The Up Center offers training and group activities to help mentors and mentees build positive relationships.

Auguste wants to encourage more men to step up and commit to becoming a mentor.

“Just get out of your comfort zone,” Auguste said, “you might be uncomfortable doing new things that you’ve never done before.”

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, you can call the Up Center at (757) 337-3414 or email them at teamupmentoring@theupcenter.org.

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