Community Stories: Donald Ferguson – Mentor of The Year

Published on May 5, 2022 in

Don Ferguson 2
Donald Ferguson
Don Ferguson 3

Mentoring has been a part of my life for more than 30 years. I’m a mentor because someone mentored me, and it changed the trajectory of my life. I had a great mother and father and yet they couldn’t teach me everything. My Eagle Scoutmaster poured into me and guided me. He mentored me before the word mentor became a buzzword.

And so, for 36 weekends out of every year, I know exactly what my plans are – I’ll be meeting with the boys from our Project Success Mentoring program, which is part of the 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit. I’ve led this effort for the past 15 years – mentoring around 30 boys each school year from middle school through college.

We cover topics such as goal setting, public speaking, computer coding, conflict resolution, and more. We also help the young men develop basic skills like how to tie a tie and properly dine. We have a near 100% graduation rate simply because of the 1:1 attention the young men receive. We’re currently in three schools and we’ve resisted expanding simply because we want to be able to give our full attention to every student.

I was named Mentor of the Year several times, most recently in 2019 by Gov. Whitmer. I always say mentoring is not a one-way street – the boys also mentor me. I encourage others to get involved with mentoring. You don’t have to change your life to change someone else’s life.

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