Community Testimonies

Read how the Community describes MUST

Describe MUST in One Word...

MUST mentors, youth, guardians and community members were asked to pick one word that describes MUST. The feedback was revealing!

Mentor Descriptions

"Transformative. As a mentor, this program has offered me the opportunity to be an agent of transformation in the lives of the youth. MUST is a core part of my life and provides an outlet through which I can make positive change in the lives of my mentees. It has given me a sense of purpose to which I am committed to."

Felix, Mentor

"Real. I chose this word because our mentors, mentee’s, and coaches all keep it real with each other. Everyone is included and anyone who is having a bad day or excludes themselves is immediately recognized and loved to the fullest potential. No one has to be shy because we are a family."

Marcus, Mentor

"Passionate. I picked passionate because we all have the drive to change the lives of the people around us. We all chose to be active in the positive approach to empowering the community. I feel it’s our duty to help change the culture surrounding our community."

Marvin, Mentor

"Inspiring. The outreach and work that we’re doing to inspire the youth to be better and help them reach their goals is truly humbling and is good work."

Khadar, Mentor

"Intentional. Intentional is the perfect word I can use to describe MUST. Intentionality starts from the very top with the owner and area director and trickles down to the coaches, to the mentors and to the students. The overarching theme is of the program is for every individual to feel known and that starts with care and intentionality." 

DJ, Mentor

"Caring. I chose the must program because this was a program that cared about mentees & mentors. They make sure mentor are taken care of while also giving them the tools to help the young men & their future as well."

Todd, Mentor

"Love. All the guys have a lot of love for each other. Some of us grew up together while other just met. No matter how long we have known each other for we have a strong bond and have each other’s back until the end."

Aaron, Mentor

MUST Youth Descriptions

"Family – I chose the word “Family” because that’s what MUST is and the mentors would go above and beyond for the kids. The Activities the program take us on are nothing but laughter and bonding time and get to know our mentors more than just a mentor. Family is the feeling that you get from these mentors because that’s what they treat us like, and they’ll do anything imaginable to help us with anything. From getting help from school, to help getting us enrolled into college, to getting a job if you need one, and to any family problem we deal and help us get through those tough times. The mentors really show what it means to be a great role model and the right way to become a productive citizen and take your time in this world we call life. They give us so much motivation to do better you can’t do anything but do better and they’ll get on get on us like a big brother if we don’t do better when we are better. The wisdom is what I look forward to cause their good or bad experience in things help me do better in whatever I do in life such as school and work. So when I think of MUST all I think about is family cause some of us come from broken families and the mentors in the program really give the us the kids the love that we need due to whatever we go through at home and I’m thankful for everything they do for us cause not a lot of people would want to become a big brother/ Mentor for kids that they think are bad and ignorant, but in reality we just need someone that listen and care."

Toree, Former Mentee and Current College Student

"Everything – As being one of the first members it helped me out a lot. Not only did MUST help keep me fed they also taught me how to become a better man, and choose better patterns in my life."

Shyheem, Former Mentee and High School Graduate

"Fun – It is good to get out of my comfort zone and do something else. I get to do things I have never done before. Learn things because of the new experiences."

David, Mentee

"Amazing – The word I would pick is amazing. You don’t see a lot of programs like this. You don’t see guys who care about us. The mentors look out for us. The things we get to do are fun and cool. They’re lit."

Elijah, Mentee

"Cool – You get to meet new people and try new things. The mentors help you grow and teach you new things."

Anonymous, Mentee

"Opportunity – I feel like it is an opportunity because you can use your mentor as a way to guide ourselves. My mentor has helped me by helping me understand stuff and school."

Che, Mentee

"Caring – They help me with my stuff school and at home. They teach you real life situations. They ask what you are going through. They care because they ask my teacher how I am doing."

Gary, Mentee

"Amazing – MUST is amazing because it is life changing because we try new things that we wouldn’t normally try when we were on our own in life. We do fun things. We make friends with people that use to be our enemies."

Jermaine, Mentee

"Loyalty – MUST is loyal because they are there when you need them. You can talk to them about anything. My mentor was with me for a long time until I was suppose to graduate."

Israel, Mentee

"Brotherhood – MUST is brotherhood because is a community where I can hang out with some of my friends. It is a group I enjoy being around and I can trust. It is a fun group."

Malik, Mentee

"Fun – MUST is fun because the experience that the mentors give you is helpful. We do activities that aren’t boring. That are actually fun to do. You want to be a part of it."

Bakari, Mentee

"Family – MUST is family because everyone looks out for each other. The mentors do not show favorites. Everyone treats each other like family."

Josiah, Mentee

"Family – I chose family because I know when I need advice and help with my problems the MUST program has always been there to help and support me. No matter how many times I crew up they will forever have my back."

Cornell, Mentee

"Opportunity – It gives at-risk African American males and opportunity they would not get in a low income environment. It gives you different experiences that might lead into different careers."

Jerome, Mentee

Family Descriptions

"Indebted – The one word I’d use to describe how I feel about MUST is Indebted. The MUST program came at a time in my and my son’s lives at that we really needed it."

Shalonie, Parent

"Incredible – I would like to say MUST is an incredible mentoring program."

Barbara, Guardian

"Dedication – I use dedication because this is all I have experienced since my grandson joined this program. Dedication to weekly meeting, dedication when my grandson was moved from school to school, dedication when there were negative situations in his life. MUST has proven to be dedicated and have been a plus in my and my grandson’s life."

Mary, Guardian

"Support – I think of the word SUPPORT. The M.U.S.T. program has supported my son through all levels of school. They also supported him in his sporting endeavors, by attending his games as well. Being that support system one needs in their life."

Elimika, Parent

"Strength – It helps young man no the strength they have in overcoming obstacles and bettering their lives for the future."

Guardian

Community Agency Descriptions

"Smart – Not only is the program cost-effective, it is forward-thinking. It makes long-term financial sense to invest now in our community through a proven mentorship-model program. It also makes humanitarian sense, providing opportunities to those who, through no fault of their own, have been disadvantaged."

Ben, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, King County Prosecutor’s Office

"Committed – MUST had been mentoring the child I was working with for many years. It was clear the child respected, appreciated, and knew he could rely on MUST to support him. MUST never gave up on him and always made the time to communicate with myself, his family, or the court."

Ailee, Attorney, The Defender Association Division, King County Department of Public Defense

"Commitment – The MUST mentor was keeping in touch with the probation counselor and seeing the client in person every week. MUST provide updates to probation, attending ALL court hearings and letting the youth know that they have another person to talk to about positive solutions."

Karla, Lead Juvenile Probation Counselor, King County Juvenile Court

"Supportive – They were first and foremost supportive of the young man and then supportive of the family, and me."

Toko, Probation Officer, King County Juvenile Court

"Relationship – MUST creates an environment where trusting relationships can be developed and nurtured. It takes time, effort, patience and persistence when doing the work of mentoring youth. This is what MUST does so well."

Daniel, School Counselor, Garfield High School

"Accessibility – Accessibility is the word I think of. When I was working with one of my struggling students–MUST came in at anytime we needed them, to support the academic/behavioral plan we came up with that particular student."

School Counselor, Seattle School District

"Necessity – It’s a necessity for our African American males to have positive men in their lives."

Kwajalein, Safety and Security, Seattle Public Schools

"Committed – Committed to the process of helping are Young Black Men be successful in all areas in their life. And supporting then through the real life struggles."

Porcia, Intervention Specialist, Garfield High School

MUST Stories and Testimonies

From Our Mentors

From Our Youth

From Our Families

From Our Community Partners