Recently, we posted about the new e-mentoring program from What it Takes. This program is using the icouldbe.org online mentoring platform to pair 200 ninth grade black boys in Philadelphia with successful e-mentors. We are interviewing several e-mentors who have already signed up for this program, to find out their inspiration for becoming a mentor and a little bit more on their backgrounds.
Ari Merretazon volunteered as an e-mentor for the What It Takes foundation because he believes his life experiences are a valuable teaching tool, and he wants to engage young African American youth in order to provide the support they need to dream big and begin to realize those dreams . Ari is looking forward to offering advice about the opportunities and challenges—both small and large— that Philadelphia youth face.
Ari is a community economic development practitioner from Philadelphia. He has served as development team leader of the Faith-Based Community Economic Development Initiative, School of Community Executive Economic Development, and Southern New Hampshire University and continues to serve as a guest presenter for the Faith-Based CED course. He is a White House Honoree, presented under President Jimmy Carter and is a decorated Vietnam War Veteran.
“I have had life experiences that young men will undoubtedly encounter and I hope to prevent them from being mishandled,” says Merretazon. “The most rewarding part of mentoring is transferring knowledge and experiences to youth to help them contribute to society in a meaningful way.”
Ari has previously mentored through the Rightful Passage program, where he used email as a mentoring tool, but this is his first experience with the icouldbe.org e-mentoring platform. Always busy and on-the-go, he’s looking forward to a way to give back to students on a regular basis through such a convenient, online program.