All it takes is two hours a week to make a difference in a young child’s life, just ask Myles.

Over a decade ago, 10-year-old Myles joined Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana’s Mentoring Children of Promise Program. Now, he’s a college student with a bright future.

When he entered the program, he lived in the B.W. Cooper housing development with his grandmother, who had health problems, and his mother had been incarcerated. Myles had witnessed violence. He needed positive male role models in his life.

That’s where Volunteers of America stepped in to provide those role models who cared about Myles and wanted to spend time with him. His first mentor was Adam Parker, son of Walter Parker, a site coordinator with the program. Myles liked sports. The mentoring program had flag football games as well as basketball, and he excelled as captain of the flag team.

Along the way, Myles formed trusting relationships with the men who volunteered as mentors, and he took part in all the activities offered — video games, picnics, outings. It helped him choose a positive path, both on the court and in the classroom.

Myles graduated from McDonough and attended Delgado before moving on to college in Kansas. He has aged out of the mentoring program, but he still feels the influence it made in his life.

With pride, Walter Parker says, “Myles is one of our first mentoring alumni. He has expressed interest in becoming a mentor himself.” Parker notes that some of the boys Myles grew up with were not as fortunate. They made poor choices and now live with the consequences.

Myles’ story is just one of many from the mentoring program. Last year, the Mentoring Children of Promise Program matched 170 youth with mentors, who guide them to become healthy and happy adults aware of their own value and how to make positive choices for themselves.

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