Rise and Shine MENTOR PROGRAM SPOTLIGHT | Part 1

Mentee, Sunny Gray, shares a little about her match with Dee Ptak.

Each day brings a new opportunity to reframe our outlook with renewed hope for a brighter future for our own selves and the generations that follow.
This community is filled with personal stories of triumph and defeat. Through life’s challenges, some individuals find it effortless to face life with courage and resilience, while others may fall into darkness and despair. When we lose hope, the difficulties overshadow the brilliance of a new horizon.
With the support of a connected and caring community, we lift each other up in time of need. 

Mentorship is one avenue that honors the need for each one of us to establish a solid network of support, to inspire a new path, and change our destiny. The most successful people are backed by a loving family, supportive friends, connected community, or a special mentor.
The small moments make a big difference when we are reaching milestones and achieving goals. 

Our mentees relate that they appreciate the Mary Graham Children’s Foundation mentor program because they build a special bond over time.
One alumni mentee, Sunny Gray, shares a little about her match with Dee Ptak, who stood with her and helped her through times of adversity.

Q: What were your feelings when you became a MGCF scholar? 
Sunny: When I received the MGCF scholarship, I was living in a group home and felt down on myself. My parents were deceased, and I was estranged from most of my family. When I was introduced to Dee as a mentor, initially I was not thrilled of the idea of having a mentor. I thought, “What does this lady know about me or my struggles?” and we would have nothing in common. I was skeptical but willing to participate. That willingness turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.

Q: How did your mentor help you?  
Sunny: After getting to know Dee, things started to change in my life. Dee’s coaching helped me reach my fullest potential. I found that I was able to be more confident, and optimistic. In a short time since being connected with Dee, I got my first job, saved
my money, applied, and was accepted to college in Tennessee and set out on my own. Dee’s guidance was instrumental in those early years of our friendship. She was and continues to be a great role model and was vital to my growth as a girl transitioning into adulthood.
It did not take long into our relationship before I felt so grateful to have met this person and recognized the impact she made on my life in just a few short years. Our relationship became this unbreakable bond built on mutual trust,
and respect.

She helped keep me going when I wanted to stop. I had no one else in my life to push me along and keep the fire lit under me. Because of that moment and her parental support, I
now affectionately call her mom.

My relationship with Dee taught me the power of mentorship. To this day I seek out mentors for everything I want to accomplish. Having the support and experience of someone who has been where you are trying to go is priceless.

Q: What are your words of advice for scholars?  
Sunny: At this moment in your life, you may not feel like you are in a good place. I encourage you to align yourself with a mentor, a person you can trust, who can help guide you. The situation you are in now does not have to be your permanent story. Set goals and surround yourself with people you can learn from, who want to see you accomplish your goals.
Be hard working, people will help you when they see you are motivated to succeed.
Utilize your resources and seek out opportunities. This moment in time and what you are going through now does not have to define how you live your life going forward.

Q: What else would you like to add about your MGCF scholar experience?    
Sunny: The support of MGCF has played an instrumental role in my success. Thank you for the work you all do.

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