From Fear to Flourishing

Leadership Foundations

Leadership Foundations

A Mentor Impact Story

Growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jorden faced challenges that most of us can’t even begin to imagine. Having been evicted when he was only 8 years old, Jorden’s family was forced to move to a shelter. On top of that, Jorden was bullied in school, called names, and pressured into acts of vandalism that he knew weren’t right and didn’t want to do.

Because of all of this, Jorden’s mother described her son as having severe social anxiety, afraid to even go outside for any reason. He rarely left the house and never socialized with kids his own age. Jorden felt isolated and alone, until he met his mentor, Raymont.

Raymont (Ray) was introduced to Jorden through the Leadership Foundations’ mentoring program site in Pittsburgh: Amachi Pittsburgh. Ray had never been a mentor before, but a staff member and friend suggested he try it out. Ray was a magnet for kids–bubbling with energy, relatable, and fun. Kids just seemed to flock to Ray.

Ray began mentoring Jorden on December 3, 2021. Given what he had heard about Jorden’s social anxiety, Ray made an effort to always plan activities outside. He’d take Jorden to restaurants, movies, the gym. Over time, Jorden began to feel more and more comfortable outside, and really enjoyed being active. Ray even has an upcoming hike planned with Jorden with some other kids so he can get more comfortable around people his own age.

These days, Ray and Jorden are “two peas in a pod.” During a recent time together, Jorden told Ray that he was “the best big brother he’s ever had.” Ray and Jorden talk often about school, his family relationships, and his interests.

Ray has learned that you have to earn your place in a child’s life. It wasn’t easy at first, but he’s glad he stuck with it. “Being a mentor is impactful in the way that it forces you to be a man of your word. Even if there’s something you don’t want to do, it always ends up great.”

Ray says that he’s never had a bad time with Jorden. In fact, he thinks he’s learned just as much from his mentee as he’s been able to share with Jorden. Jorden introduced Ray to new things like TikTok and video games, but Ray also realized he was learning how to be fully present to his young mentee when they were together:

“Jorden has a gift for slowing down. It has helped me to slow down. When he asks me a question, I have to think through my response.”

Ray has also learned that when Jorden asks for advice, “…you don’t always have to provide an answer immediately to show that you care.”

Jorden and Ray are both so grateful for the roles they play in each other’s lives. Together, they are just one example of the transformative power that a mentoring relationship can have.

To learn more about Leadership Foundations’ national mentoring network, and how you can help more kids like Jorden receive a caring adult mentor like Ray, visit: https://leadershipfoundations.org/youth.

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Support the Leadership Foundations’ mentoring network today to extend the gift of a caring adult mentor to kids who need it most, like Jorden!

Did you Know?


Since 2008, the Leadership Foundations network has connected 17,044 underserved youth with mentors.


77% of our mentees demonstrate increased social support in their lives after being mentored.


89% of our mentees possess improved stress management skills.

Thanks to supporters like you, they now have a caring adult in their lives! 

Click below to learn more about how the Global LF Network is working to ensure the youth of our cities are able to thrive!

New Book Launch

City As Playground Anthology

 is now available for purchase in print and Kindle.

Celia Vigil

Communications Associate

What book, movie, quote, or tv show has most shaped your understanding of leadership or the city?   

A quote that has shaped my understanding of leadership and the city is, “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”

While the amount of work there is to do to transform cities is great, this quote reminds me that we are freed from having to complete it all, though our obligation to continue remains. We may never see a huge transformation in our lifetime. The work stretches far beyond us. However, this does not make our acts of faithfulness in the day to day less significant, no matter how small they may seem.