And his mom knew the facts – that having a parent in prison can often lead to depression, anger, and often affects a child’s success in school.
It was this that pushed Jordon’s mom to take action. She called up the Knoxville Leadership Foundation to see if they could find her 5-year-old son a caring adult mentor.
It was a simple request – she wanted her son to have a consistent male role model in his life, to learn how to build positive relationships with others, and how to tie his shoes.
That was back in 2010 when the Knoxville Leadership Foundation introduced Jordon to his mentor Calvin.
And still today, ten years later, Jordan and Calvin meet together almost every week!
Jordon did eventually learn how to tie his shoes. But he received much more than that. Jordon says that Calvin “taught me how to be a man.”
From 5-year-old to Emerging Leader
When he first met Calvin as a kindergartener, Jordan called him “his big brother.” Finally, he had a friend in his life that he could do “guy stuff” with. Today, almost a decade later, Jordon is a young teenager still walking with his mentor Calvin.
“He makes me happy He’s taught me how to act like a man and be responsible. He’s always pushing me to keep at it in school.” – Jordon
For Calvin, accompanying Jordan—walking alongside him for a decade now—has been a remarkable gift as well. A housing professional that works for Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the State of Tennessee office, Calvin heard about the mentoring program through his church, and thought it sounded fun. And as it turned out, Calvin lived in the same neighborhood as his assigned mentee, Jordon!
But he had no idea the impact on his own life while watching this young boy grow into a young man and emerging leader.
Today, whenever Jordon and Calvin meet, it has to do with sports. Whether it’s Calvin showing up for one of Jordon’s high school games, tailgating at a University of Tennessee football game together, or playing pickup basketball at the local playground, Jordon and Calvin love being with one another.
It hasn’t always been easy. Like anyone growing up, Calvin has seen Jordon go through the growing pains of adolescence. But the trust that they’ve built over the years remains solid. Jordon knows that there’s always someone in his corner.
What does Jordon aspire to be when he grows up? A professional athlete, of course! But Calvin – as a dedicated and supportive mentor – is helping him come up with a solid plan B.