SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. (WDVM) — We often hear about troubled youth and programs to help them. One such program is right here in our own backyard at Shepherd University.
Meet Jadet Charriez from San Juan, Puerto Rico. He is in a mentoring program at Shepherd to work with kids trying to find the right path.
“The program has helped me a lot,” says Charriez. “I came from a very, very deep, deep place. I come from ‘P.R.’ which is like a lot of violence and a lot of trouble.
Jadet ended up at Thomas Jefferson High School in Frederick and was mentored. He got on the right track.
“And then I started to pick up my pace, doing well,” Charriez said. “I started to be a leader. I came back strong with a 3.5 GPA.”
Dr. Lois Jarman is director of international affairs at Shepherd and says Jadet is the model for her mentoring program through a non-profit called “I Believe in Me,” whose simple mission is, says Jarman, to “help them achieve goals and improve their lives. And so, looking at at-risk youth so they have programs where they work with them tutoring, academically, socializing, all sorts of different things. But most importantly just having mentors in their lives.”
Fanny Yayi is a recent New York Univeristy graduate working with Dr. Jarman at Shepherd on the mentoring program. According to her, it’s all a matter of making an emotional investment in setting troubled kids in a positive direction.
“I wholeheartedly believe in the power of mentoring and really just empowering people through just time – spending time and dedicating time to get to know these kids. But also support their vision and their goals,” Yayi said.
Like Jadet from Puerto Rico, international students face social challenges coming to a new country. Abdoul Nasser is a graduate assistant at Shephard who can relate.
“Culturally I didn’t know about American culture and everything so it was important for me to first feel comfortable… feel accepted in society,” Nasser said. “This helped me to be good at school.”
Along with inspirational panel discussions, the students and their mentors take time to scrimmage on the soccer field at Shepherd.