Dictionary.com defines a mentor as a wise and trusted counselor or teacher. During National Mentoring Month, I want to offer to you that your life is either a cautionary tale or a positive example. With that being said, you can be a role model or a mentor to someone you may not know personally based on how you live your life. Your legacy is being created by your personal and professional connections, the integrity with which you work or serve, the strangers you encounter throughout the day, and the blueprint that is being developed by your social media presence.
The reasons listed above are some of the main reasons that young people look up to celebrities. I believe that the main reason they look up to celebrities is that celebrities are everywhere – we are bombarded with their thoughts and actions. This over saturation is the reason that I created SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month. SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month is A Positive Alternative To Hollywood Celebrity Worship. We showcase youth in foster care that are not being defined by their past or their struggles. We are eliminating negative stereotypes of teens in foster care by celebrating young people who are making a positive impact in the lives of the people in their inner circle and in their communities. Please take some time this month to create new online mentors by nominating outstanding teens for SPOTLIGHT Teen of the Month.
Before I end this blog, I want to give you specific examples that showcase the power of setting clear goals, taking strategic action, and connecting with powerful mentors. Most of us over 35 are familiar with the rise to stardom of Sean Combs, Andre Harrell, Russell Simmons, and James Todd Smith. Because young people will always admire celebrities, want to mention certain aspects of the careers of these successful executives, rappers, and actors.
1. Russell Simmons changed the rap game when he cofounded Def Jam Records and presented Run DMC and the Beastie Boys to the world. James Todd Smith aka LL Cool J was also an artist at Def Jam Records.
2. Russell Simmons was the brain behind my favorite movie, Krush Groove, which was loosely based on the launch and success of Def Jam Records. LL Cool J had a minute cameo appearance in the film but can be seen on the set throughout the movie doing things like sweeping the floor. LL Cool J, now a highly regarded actor, stars in the hit television show NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS.
3. Former rapper Andre Harrell was an executive to Russell Simmons at Def Jam Records before launching Uptown Records. Lessons learned from Russell Simmons allowed Andre Harrell to introduce hip hop heavy hitters such as Heavy D, Mary J. Blige.
4. Sean Combs aka Puff Daddy, Puffy, P Diddy, and Diddy, was a dancer in music video before working at Uptown Records. Puffy’s departure from Uptown records prompted the creation of the wildly successful Bad Boy Records. Notorious BIG, Faith Evans, and 112 were a product of Bad Boy Records. Puffy also created Sean John clothing based on the success of Russell Simmons’ Phat Farm clothing line. Combs’ Bad Boys of Comedy was patterned after the innovation of Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam.
TVOne aired a great episode of LifeAfter television show featuring Andre Harrell in which the power of mentorship was highlighted throughout that prompted me to write this blog.
Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer
The Teen Toolbox utilizes youth portfolio development and civic engagement and academic empowerment strategies to help teens set goals for life after high school and create a road map to reach those goals through its PACKAGED FOR SUCCESS™ Programs. We are committed to supporting and raising awareness about the needs and potential of teenagers in the foster care system.
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