Outstanding youth

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Feb 16, 2011 - 05:08 PM

Photo: Mathews High School student Kendelle Brooks, left, and his mentor, Mathews County Deputy Jennifer Shultz, were recently honored by First Lady Michelle Obama at the National Mentoring Summit. Photo by Sherry Hamilton.

Mathews High School student Kendelle Brooks, left, and his mentor, Mathews County Deputy Jennifer Shultz, were recently honored by First Lady Michelle Obama at the National Mentoring Summit. Photo by Sherry Hamilton.

Kendelle Brooks, a Mathews High School freshman and member of the Mathews Chapter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula, and his mentor Jennifer Shultz, a deputy with the Mathews County Sheriff’s Office, attended the first National Mentoring Summit in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 25 at the invitation of First Lady Michelle Obama.

Brooks and Shultz served as representatives for the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation’s National Badges for Baseball Program, which pairs law enforcement officers with youth to teach kids the value of a healthy lifestyle, importance of setting goals, and how to achieve their goals by staying in school, not joining gangs, and staying away from drugs.

Shultz has been a School Resource Officer for the past five years and had the opportunity to become acquainted with Brooks initially through D.A.R.E. instruction. She has been his mentor for approximately four years, helping him make positive decisions toward his future.

Mrs. Obama inspired the group with her message on the importance of mentoring, and a prestigious panel of several Cabinet members shared their own mentoring experiences.

During the keynote session, the First Lady addressed a room of nearly 500 mentoring advocates, mentor-mentee pairs, and corporate executives about the positive results of Shultz and Brooks’ mentoring relationship. She said that Shultz has been a great mentor for Brooks, helping him manage everyday issues and tracking his progress and grades. He has made the junior varsity football and basketball teams the past two seasons and has become a drummer at church. Last school year, he received perfect attendance and is currently a member of the Building Better Achievers Club.