April 28th, 2020
Boston Celtics Rookie Grant Williams Sparks Virtual Youth Mentoring Initiative
Player Joins Mentoring Experts to Engage High Schoolers While Physically Distancing
BOSTON – To ensure physical distancing does not mean social disconnection, NBA player Grant Williams is engaging and supporting local youth with his just-launched virtual mentoring group. Williams conceptualized and this week kicked off a small, personalized mentoring group, serving as a virtual mentor to six ninth-grade boys. Williams will lead weekly group sessions via video conference with facilitation support and expertise from MENTOR and its local Affiliate, Mass Mentoring Partnership, to ensure safety and quality. In addition to the weekly meet-ups, the group will complete activities in between sessions.
The goals of the mentoring group are three-fold: to foster meaningful new connections during this time of increased isolation, provide mentorship to a group of young men that can benefit from Williams’ experience, and create a cohort of young men to support one another who may not have otherwise met. The young men in this relationship-building and mentoring group represent diverse experiences, perspectives, and communities in Massachusetts, including Brockton, Cambridge, Holyoke, and Mattapan with a common interest in basketball.
“I want to thank MENTOR for giving me this opportunity to lead six, talented African American young men and trusting me to provide wisdom, guidance and hope for the future. I have been afforded many opportunities in my life and being able to give back allows me to inspire and give them a step forward in a race where they will be faced with many obstacles. It is super important to me to be able to work with these young men because they will be the leaders of our next generation,” said Grant Williams.
“During these unprecedented times, many young people are especially isolated from support structures like school and extracurricular activities, including sports,” said Matt Meyersohn, Senior Director of External Affairs at MENTOR. “At the same time, thoughtful professional athletes like Grant Williams are realizing they have extra time to give that they wouldn’t normally have. Grant’s willingness to step up and not only inspire young athletes but to create new relationships is a testament to his vision, passion, and compassion. We’re grateful to be in this together and hope his example is a catalyst for all of us to show up for young people in this moment and beyond.”
MENTOR aims to amplify this virtual engagement model and replicate the concept with other athletes across the country.
“When my basketball coach called me about joining a mentoring group with Grant Williams, it made me feel like he believes in my potential,” said Dontay, a freshman from Cambridge. “From the first meeting with Grant, it is clear that he is so relatable and willing to share his own experiences on and off the court. I’m excited for the chance to learn from him.”
“We appreciate Grant Williams for using his platform to connect with young people through his virtual mentoring group. We know how important relationships are and the need to create space to connect with young people especially in times like these. Our youth serving partners are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this program,” said Lily Mendez, President and CEO, Mass Mentoring Partnership.
For more information about mentoring in this moment, visit www.mentoring.org.
MENTOR is the unifying champion for quality youth mentoring in the United States. Our mission is to expand the quality and quantity of mentoring relationships nationwide. Potential is equally distributed; opportunity is not. A major driver of healthy development and opportunity is who you know and who’s in your corner. 30 years ago, MENTOR was created to expand that opportunity for young people by building a youth mentoring field and movement. The result: a more than 10-fold increase in young people in structured mentoring relationships. Today, we are the expert voice activating a movement that is diverse and broad and seeps into every aspect of daily life – meeting young people everywhere they are from schools to workplaces and beyond.
ABOUT MASS MENTORING PARTNERSHIP
Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP) is committed to ensuring that every young person in the state has access to quality mentoring relationships, regardless of who they are or where they live.
MMP is a statewide organization that partners with corporate, public, and philanthropic entities to drive critical resources to a network of more than 370 mentoring and youth-serving organizations, representing more than 50,000 young people. www.massmentors.org