Testimonies

What the Community Says

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

MUST Mentors

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

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
screw 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

Families

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 Agencies

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 there life. And supporting then through the real life struggles. – Porcia, Intervention Specialist, Garfield High School

Personal Testimonies About MUST

MUST Mentors

Felix, Mentor
To begin with, MUST has provided me with life lessons through my mentoring experience. The program has given me a family that I can connect with and build a long lasting relationship with. The frequent outings make it fun to connect with the guys and catch up with them. Meetings with the Area Director also give me a support system that I can rely on at any point in time.
The mentoring program has taught me that being a man is all about being responsible. I have developed a better sense of accountability through this program. Working with other mentors has shaped my ability to work in a team with others towards the same goal. It has also provided me with an opportunity to be an advocate for my guys whenever needed.

Marcus, Mentor
MUST has given me a reason to go to college instead of dropping out. One of the most important things MUST does is teaching our students how to be men. As the youngest mentor in a program, I also learn new things every time I interact with this program. Having a car also makes it easier to get to schools outside of Seattle such as Bellevue. Older mentors in our program and coaches have also demonstrated how illegal activities should be avoided at all costs for us Black men, through discussions I better understand why I should give myself a better future.

MUST has taught me how much more serious I have take life, especially when no one is watching and its just me. What’s done in the dark always finds away to shine and I have control over what I am manifesting within myself. Before MUST, operating through a city that is losing Black people and culture was difficult– I was lost and confused. With a boss such as Kelvin and other African-American men around me working towards a common goal, I feel like I have more direction in life and I also have the skills and maturity to help others. MUST has helped me in school because I have to do well to keep my job, because of that I treat school like a job. In terms of relationships MUST has taught me how important it is to value relationships, especially with those who are close to you as you have the biggest effect on them.

Marvin, Mentor
MUST has done many things in helping me along the path to changing the world. One of which is MUST helped connect me to a math tutor that was instrumental in me advancing into the math needed for my computer science major. I have also been fortunate enough to have been connected to a person that helps me pay for unforeseen school expenses which gives me the ability to focus on classes. Most importantly they provided me with a job that allows me to give back to the community, while supporting me through college with a car and the mentality that school is a top priority and most jobs don’t have this level of support.

I would like to say that MUST pairing with a coach that works in my planned field of study that looks like me gives me so much hope in terms of my future in the tech industry. I know that when I graduate and move forward in life that I will also get to be the motivation for the community.

Khadar, Mentor
A listening ear has always been helpful and finding a new perspective to tackle problems in life especially as a young man you may not always have someone who’s been the exact situation. But with the MUST mentors and coaches you always seem to find the right help at the right time.
Being apart of this program I’ve learned about how your actions are important and at a certain point in time all eyes will be on you and it’s important to know how to act in those moments.

DJ, Mentor
A few specific things that MUST has done for me is to be around a group of brothers and feel connected. Another thing would be that though I mentor and guide the students into a different path and frame of mind, I just as equal learn from the students. They teach about life, about brotherhood, and how to be a better man in leadership.
This program has taught me about the impact of someone coming along side of an individual and being a positive role model for them. The program has shown me that I want to someday own a company and make an impact in my community back at home like MUST does in Seattle. MUST is changing the students lives but also the city of Seattle.

Todd, Mentor
MUST program has helped me survive college & connect with individuals who were a big help in my college success. It has taught me patience & given me motivation to keep pushing & understanding someone else is counting on me to make a difference.

The MUST program has given me self discipline & helped me mature as a working man. From Early morning work to spending weekends away doing things Ive never done along with the youth was a blessing & has given me a deeper respect for the youth & the trouble the face that doesn’t get brought up in everyday talk. It has taught me lessons in life & outside of the work place. The Must program has given me a opportunity to build a bond with an amazing group of kids.

Aaron, Mentor
Must gave me my first car. Having a car made life easier with traveling to and from school. Driving to school saved a lot of time which meant more studying.
The program has taught be to be there for people even when things don’t always go as planned. It’s taught me how to be persistent and encouraging even though things don’t look promising in the beginning.

MUST Youth

Toree, Former Mentee and High School Graduate
MUST helped me with everything. If it wasn’t for this program I wouldn’t even be in college and and help me find what I wanted to do. The coaching on life are what strive me to do better cause not all mentors are perfect and their wisdom on there success and failures shows the amount of work or struggles they went through to get where they at today and that makes me want to put in that grind and hustle to become more successful as them. The outings bring us kids closer to the mentors cause we get to see the fun side of our role models and they show us that you can always make time to have fun and everything is not always about school or getting a job and working a lot of hours. Also when we go on outings it’s not always about us getting to know them or them getting to know us but help get to know the other mentors and kids very well and be more comfortable around them every time we go on our outings. So further into the year the outings get even more fun cause we know everybody and there’s not one person that doesn’t feel welcomed after a couple months going on these outings. They also help us with any financial troubles we go through at home and they’ll help pay for phone bills or lunch if can’t help ourselves. One particular mentor helped me with transferring colleges because I was having a hard time with my other college he showed me a better one and introduced me to Umoja which is a all black scholars program that help help black students get through school and I thank him for everything cause I really love the school and the umoja program cause they look after me just like the MUST program.

They show us the steps of how to enroll into college and help us get financially ready for college by applying for scholarships and getting financial aid. For one of the outings they teach us about life after high school and what colleges we should work to get into and and build goals to help achieve the success we need. Also that particular outing help us want to aim for better jobs so we can support a family and that working at McDonald’s is not going to help support a family if we ever get one. They help us understand the process of credit and why filing taxes are important and understanding the process of filing out taxes. They help us with budgeting our money and how to properly spend it in the right places. They help us with buying homes and why it’s important to own things than just rent them. And they help understand that after high school consequences are real and we shouldn’t follow the crowds that are going to put us in trouble.

Shyheem, Former Mentee and High School Graduate
MUST Got me my first job which allowed me to get my first car which was something I had dreamed about since a child. It helped me become close to people I still talk to this day. Helped my family when I needed it the most. Came to check on me and would keep checking even if I didn’t respond or seem like I didn’t want to be there. Understood that I was going through some things. I also had something to look forward to every weekend with some of my best friends Must has helped me get a tutor with school and gave me more confidence.

David, Mentee
My mentor gets on my end about getting my grades up so I can play football. He gives me good advice on how to treat people better. How to treat my family and friends better. I had to take a break from all of the chaos home and move out for a bit and my mentor and Kelvin were there for me. I would recommend MUST to other guys because it helps you with your relationships with your family. It makes you better as a person. It has taught me that if you take a bad path it will make it harder in life to live. If you take a good path it will be easier to live.

Elijah, Mentee
It has helped me see better what I need to do. Instead of letting things go by. They help me see what I need to do better in. They are honest so I do not make bad choices. I would recommend MUST to other guys because if you want to see better and you want people to be there for you. If you want to have fun with your spare time it is a good program to be in. The program helps at home too.

Anonymous, Mentee
They helped me with some situations that I did not want to deal with. I got in a fight at school and my mentor helped me after. He said I could have just walked away. He said the situation could have been avoided differently. I would recommend the program to other guys because if they are in tough situations the can use the space and time to clear their head. Keep their mind off special things. It has turned me more independent.

Che, Mentee
My mentor has helped me in school by helping me with assignments and projects. He helps me in looking at other schools. We go in the morning to eat before school and talk about what we need to do. If I am going through a hard time I can talk to him when I need to without being judged. I would recommend it to other guys because it might help them also in the future. The program has taught me something called BELT. B is break the cycle. E is excellence. L is leave no man behind. T is toughness. BELT is helpful because I feel like to more something reminds me I do it.

Gary, Mentee
They help me at school definitely. They make sure if I am failing a class I get back to passing. They give me gift cards for food and help with clothes for school. The program has taught me perseverance and accountability. It made me look at things differently. My mentor tells me what he has been through so I won’t go through the same thing. They are good people to look up to.

Jermaine, Mentee
They made me pull my grades up. I use to just barely make it and now I am trying for Bs or As. My mentor tells me I better get better grades if I want to succeed in life. It helps me get an early start on what I am going to do when I get older. I recommend the program because they can help you get to college. They make you try new things. They help you do what you want to do. It has helped me to talk things out instead of fighting.

Israel, Mentee
They help me succeed in school by talking to my teachers and counselors. They push you to work hard. They give you motivate to go to college by taking me to college campuses and seeing other guys in college. It is a really good program for kids that are struggling. It take you in and makes you think about life instead of being on the streets. It has taught me out to be a man and how life is hard and all the obstacles in life.

Malik, Mentee
It has helped me find a new school and work on stuff in school. They gave me money to get something to eat. It has helped me with personal problems and fees. They get me breakfast in the morning and get me to school. The program has taught me to own up to my responsibilities and be a better person. We do stuff that is half and half. Stuff that is fun and stuff we can use in real life like job interviews and stuff. They taught me how to ride a four-wheel!

Bakari, Mentee
MUST has helped me understand what the meaning of a man is. A man is reliable and owns his mistakes. MUST has helped me keep up in school by checking up on me and making sure my grades are up to par and talking to teachers when necessary. I recommend it to other guys because most of the time you need something to give you an extra push to keep going down the right path. It is also something to do if you don’t have anything else to do and kick it with some cool dudes.

Josiah, Mentee
It has taught me life lessons. They give you real talks that make you think about things. The talks they give you can prevent you from doing things in the future. Like using your words instead of fighting. Being respectful young men. I would recommend MUST to others because it helps you not fall off track. You don’t focus on your problems all the time. You have fun. It teaches you how to do different things like being on the camping trip. Time away and all that.

Cornell, Mentee
They motivated me to get back on track in school. When I stopped playing sports they helped me get a membership at the YMCA to keep myself in shape. Yes I would recommend the program to other guys. I think it’s a good program because no matter what you have been through nobody in the program looks at you like a bad person. It has helped my family a lot because I never really opened up to anyone before. The MUST program has always been there for me.

Jerome, Mentee
MUST got me back in track in high school. It works on my character and leadership qualities. My mentor is like a bigger brother who helps with family life and paying attention to details. It hash shaped my future because it gets me in touch with careers and shows me the business side of things. I would definitely reconmmed the program to other guys. You are around other guys who are cool. It’s the culture being around other guys who are like cousins.

Families

Shalonie, Parent
My son’s first year of high school was a real struggle. Rick Newell of the MUST Program, whom worked closely with our family gave us the information for Seattle Urban Academy. A private school which was a better fit for my student. A school where my son is now a junior and earns A’s & B’s. I am forever grateful to the MUST Program as the transfer out of the public school system to the private one was a pivotal moment in my son’s life. The MUST Program was a godsend for my son and I. I greatly appreciate the opportunity afforded to my family in being allowed to participate in the program. Keep up the great work! You are needed in the community!

Barbara, Guardian
My grandsons friend was in the MUST mentoring program and I’m his mother was also friends as well so she told me about the program and that is will be a good program for him and that she would talk to the leader of the program Rick. So my grandson was over for a weekend visit and the group was going out that Saturday and when his friend was being picked up babies going to the movies so I got a chance to talk with Rick and he asked at my grandson join in with them going to the movies I said yes and then we set up a date and time to meet and he explained the program and we signed my grandson up for the program and he’s been in it every since he was 13 or 14.

At this time my grandson was going through a difficult. At school and being the only child at home at the time it would be good for him to be around other young boys that was going through difficult times in their life to be involved in the community expressing his feelings talking with people on his Pier and getting understanding and guidance I think this program for helping him become the young man that he has become and directing him on his Path and believing in yourself. M.u.s.t helped him turn a negative into a positive.

I would recommend M.u.s.t two in a family that I know that has young man’s going through difficult times and not knowing where they’re headed. When my grandson issues in school there were times that I didn’t think that he was going to make it to the finish line but with the help of M.u.s.t not giving up on him even when he wanted use to but they were there him and his family through all of it. I would like to thank M u.s.t Rick and all the other mentors who Been on this journey with us to get him to the finish line and we made that journey we are forever grateful and may God bless each and everyone of you keep up the good work.

Mary, Guardian
When his mother was having problems and had to move from one school district to the other and was unable to assist him due to not having transportation, MUST was there to help him with his transition to his new school and had talked to his counselors and had his new schedule already prepared for him. Whenever the family had to move, MUST was always there to support him and encourage him. MUST has truly been my grandson’s “CHAMPION”. They don’t judge him and has never given up on him and has always been there for him. They have exposed him to activities and places where he would have never experienced before. Every child deserves a “MUST”.

Elimika, Parent
When my son started college M.U.S.T. stepped up and got him a brand new laptop. I was so very thankful because I could not afford to buy my son his on computer for school which he needed. I sure appreciate the M.U.S.T. organization because they are doing things for the better good. Trying to change their surroundings and show them there is more to life than the “STREETS!” I am a single mother of 5 boys and I love to see organizations that help inner city youth better themselves. I can honestly say that my son would have been on a different path in life if it wasn’t for M.U.S.T. Thank you again for showing him the right way.

Anonymous, Guardian
The program to help my grandson become aware of his future and things he could do to improve it and obtain it. The people are terrific to work with they take interest in you personally and the youth they are involved with.

LeAnna, Parent
I chose this program because the thought of my son being around young man that he is more relatable to was a good course of action during his most impressionable years as a teenage boy not just any teenage boy a young African-American teenage boy. When I was told what they had to offer in the guidance that they were willing to provide I knew that this program would help my son navigate in ways that I could not help him with.

Our family was going through a very hard time. I was caring for family members and that was a huge burden on not only David but the other children in the home. They helped me with David when is behavior made a turn for the worst and help him find himself again and gain more confidence than I’ve seen in the last couple years and for that I am truly grateful. They also gave me guidance on how to deal with my family situation we just made the situation all the better

This is a really good program for young men and I’m very grateful that I have found it or better yet that they had found us. I hope that they continue to do the work they do because in my opinion it will be the best way to shape our next generation of young black men.

Shannon, Guardian
My youth had low self esteem and would consistently walk around with a hoody on- attempting to introvert. MUST allowed him to be his best self and helped him gain confidence in his social skills and ability to express himself in a positive manner. Rick Newell’s consistency in leadership filled with integrity and his commitment to this group made all the difference in the world.

Cheniqua, Parent
Help with the schools and court. Keeping him out of trouble. MUST was there for all of his court dates and everything. Even my child was not there his mentor would keep showing up. He kept coming! I enjoy this program. All the parents should stay in it. Keep in touch with your mentors. One thing is that the program never gives up on you. They truly love the kids.

Fritz, Guardian
MUST has been a great help in assuring that my grandson looks at life in a way that he can be successful, and how he can be a person who can stand on his own and be the man he wants to be. MUST also directs these young men to be honest and to respect the ones that are around them. This would include their parents and their teachers, as well as anyone they come into contact with. I have noticed how well mannered my grandson is since he has been involved with this group. MUST is a great addition to parents who want their son to eccell and be a positive force in this world. They complement what an additional parent would be for this group and how to be successful. This program has been a positive influence on the whole family by letting all of us know that being positive with one of us will bring that same influence to all of us.

Anonymous, Guardian
After stealing from other students at school, my foster son was in danger of facing a judge with possible harsh consequences. MUST spoke out for him and used their influence to help him. When he had to change schools, they helped him navigate the change and introduced him to the new program.
While my foster son is not now able to really appreciate what the people at MUST have done for him, I do think he will be able to look back and say “these people never gave up on me”. For a kid who has been given up on over and over again, I think that that is incredibly significant.

Community Partners

Ben
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
King County Prosecutor’s Office
So often with court-involved youth, prosecutors like me are looking for options. How can we avoid simply locking up another youth? Is there a better way to respond, a more constructive way? Increasingly, we are realizing the importance of partnering with community groups to develop a continuum of care for disadvantaged youth. For so many court-involved youth, especially, mentorship is critical. Jobs and training programs are critical. And opportunities to boost empathy for others are critical. MUST accomplishes all three of these functions. That is what is great about it. It provides mentorship to youth, provides job opportunities for young adults, and along the way boosts empathy. It is the kind of option that those of us in the criminal justice system need to embrace if we are serious about reform.

Daniel
School Counselor
Garfield High School
One of the greatest needs for teenagers is having responsible and caring adults in their lives. Mentoring fills a huge void in our education system and is not discussed enough when it comes to closing the opportunity gap. This is where MUST comes in and supports a vital area of need, especially for historically under-served populations.
MUST has worked with several Garfield students and we have received positive feedback from both parents and students about the care and services they received. One parent made it a point to tell another parent about the program because they felt so strongly about how it positively impacted their student.

Aileen
Attorney
The Defender Association Division
King County Department of Public Defense
I previously represented juveniles in King County Superior Court’s Juvenile Division. Rick and the MUST program were mentors for one of the youth I represented. Having adults in the community to support a youth are absolutely essential to keeping a child out of custody, guiding the child through the court process, and can have a large impact on the outcome of the case and the youth’s life.
In King County’s juvenile court, Rick Newell and MUST stood out for their dedication and commitment to the youth they worked with. In the case where I represented a youth, they were 100% present and supportive for him every step of the way. Attending court hearings, taking him to mentoring activities on “pass” when he was on home detention, advocating on his behalf to the judge to keep him out of custody. In Juvenile court where the concern is often the level of attention a child receives, being able to have a “team” of family and community is essential to assisting our youth – both to have favorable outcomes in their case – and to reduce the chances that they will have to interact with the criminal justice system in the future. I was very grateful to Rick and MUST for their constant steady presence in the child’s life.

Karla
Lead Juvenile Probation Counselor
King County Juvenile Court
MUST provided mentorship to a client. Keeping the youth out of illegal activities, involving the youth in pro-social activities every week. MUST also worked at getting my client into school. This client told me that they appreciated the commitment MUST put in toward him. There were many times that even his family members would not support my client and the client told me the MUST Mentor has always been there for him and have never been judgmental.
I had a 17 year old client who was a pretty good athlete in football. He had a full ride scholarship to one of the private catholic high schools in Seattle. Due to situations with the parents the family started to move around quite a bit and ended up homeless for a short time. My client lost his scholarship and started to get into trouble with the law. The MUST program stepped in a few years ago and started to work with my client to try and get him back on the right track. My client would have bumps in the road but the MUST mentor Rick Newell was always there. My client told me that he even tried to stop being involved with MUST but he figured out that the MUST mentor was always there to help out. No matter if my client was in trouble or not- (his own family members would pass judgment). MUST showed commitment by coming to court every time, providing a pro-social activity each week and getting my client back into a school program. I would submit another referral for the MUST program for a future client with no hesitation.

Yoko
Superior Court
A lot of the young people that come in contact with juvenile court are in need of positive role models. M.U.S.T. provides not only mentors for them, but they are a help and support to the families, too. The court system is not the easiest process to navigate. M.U.S.T. is available to explain the process or find out the answers to any questions the youth or family might have.
M.U.S.T. was very extremely helpful in assisting my client, his parents, and me while he went through the court process. The M.U.S.T. mentor and staff kept in regular contact with the young man and family to see how things were going at home and school. When there were problems at school regarding attendance, M.U.S.T. was there at the school and at meetings to support him and to see what they could do to help with the problem. They took the young man to positive activities on the weekend and at the same time showed him and talked to him about making positive choices. During this whole time, M.U.S.T. made sure that he understood what his court obligations were, got him to court, and stayed with him so he would not be alone for his hearings. M.U.S.T. kept me up to date regarding the young man’s progress. I appreciate how well they communicated with all the parties that were involved.

School Counselor
Seattle School District
There are so many African-American youth that are struggling academically and behaviorally at my school. They’re great kids who have been dealt a bad hand, usually to no fault of their own. Having quality mentoring services really help guide and direct these kids toward a better path, ultimately giving them the opportunities to achieve their academic goals. Achieving these goals opens doors to possibilities that would never have occurred without support services. The services that MUST gives students at my school, enables them to get to that door so that they’re prepared to walk through it when it does open for them.
The specific example that I have, involves a senior who will be graduating this June. This student has an IEP, and struggled to make competent decision/choices last school year. These choices/decisions forced this student to become a 5th year senior–not being able to earn his/her diploma on time. Rick Newell and the student’s mentor came to many meetings that included teachers and family members in an effort at creating an academic/behavior plan that be successful for this student. Their effort really helped support this student to finally get over the hump–enabling him/her to earn their diploma this spring.

Kwajalein Griffin
Safety and Security
Seattle Public Schools
Here at Garfield HS it’s helpful just knowing that a number of these young men are involved with an outside mentoring group such as yours. It has allowed us to be able to communicate openly about students needs in and out of school. Mr. Washington has visited Garfield on numerous occasions as well as connected with the staff here at Garfield. There’s a lot of students here in need and since he’s introduced himself, he’s been able to communicate how the program works and how it can help not only the students who are currently in it, but more students in the future. We look forward to a bright future with Mr. Washington.

Porcia Beard
Intervention Specialist
Garfield High School
We share the some of the same students. The work that MUST does with the students and the work that Garfield is doing with the students; We were able to come together with plans on how we could continue to support these particular students and what would benefit each individual student.
MUST attending parent and staff meeting in regards to a student to figure out what would be the best option for this student moving forward. MUST helping to transfer a student to Interagency due to Garfield not being the appropriate fit for this student. MUST checking in with Garfield Staff on Students progress.