Mentor Tributes

To our mentors, with gratitude:

Scholar: Alynn Franklin, Class of 2013
Mentor: Sherina Smith

Ms. Sherina: You have been such a great example far more than you can imagine. Through our time together, I have found you to be prestigious on so many levels. I love that you are not only a successful career woman, but a woman of character and faith. Not only can I talk to you as a young student, but you impart wisdom from a Christian aspect as well. I appreciate all of our times spent together. You have taught me diligence, perseverance, and how to reward hard work. I love and appreciate you from the bottom of my heart. I look forward to the years to come when I can pour into another all that you have invested in me. Thank you for being you. I thank God that he has connected us.


Scholar: Keelah Washington, Class of 2014
Mentor: Pauline Montgomery

Dear Ms. Montgomery: You may not be aware of this, but January is National Mentoring Month. And although you may feel that there is no obligation whatsoever for me to write to you this month, there most certainly is.

According to Webster’s, a mentor is an influential senior sponsor or supporter but to me, you’re more than a lousy, one sentence definition. You’re an Angel sent from above. You took the time out of your day to sit down and measure the pros and cons of taking on the responsibility of some annoying, teenybopper high school student for the next four years.

You’ve pushed me to do great things both in and out of your presence. You’ve molded in with my family so well that aside from the legalities, you’re considered a member all the same. You’ve opened the gates to so many doors for me. I’ve never had a real job before, aside from small babysitting gigs here and there, but even so, you and your family took me in to the firm this previous summer and I’ve never felt so elated and so comfortable. I’m positive what I want to do with my career path from this moment on and I couldn’t be surer without your help, Michelle’s help and everyone else’s from the firm.

I want to just thank you both for everything you’ve done for me because saying thank you a million times could never amount to even a fraction of how appreciative I am for both of your presences in my youth.

Even if Michelle is only considered a co-mentor to LINK, I want to make sure that she is well aware that I’ve considered her your equal counterpart in our relationship, no matter the apparent relationship between you two. She’s pushed me in ways that you haven’t and quite honestly, I needed the push. You’re an amazing support system and she’s the physical and verbal push I need towards motivation.

So thank you once again for everything, I hope your Holiday season was grand and that you had a blessed Happy New Year’s with your family.


Mentee: Troi Sharpp
Mentors: Yvonne and Fendley Dougé

My mentors, the Dougés, have deeply impacted my life. I am extremely grateful for the investments they have made into my education. Doors are now opened to me through them and LINK that without them would’ve been closed. My mentors are definitely teaching me how to fish and by the end of this journey I will eat for a lifetime. I thank them for all they have done and more!


Mentee: Talia Sharpp
Mentors: Abby & George Lombardi

January is “Mentor Appreciation Month” and it is too bad that you two aren’t my mentors. You’re SOOOOOOOOOO much more than that – you’re my friends, mentors, role models, and in my eyes you two are my measures of excellence!! For this reason, I don’t simply show my appreciation in January, but I strive to do so every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year for the rest of my life. Yet still I realize that it isn’t sufficient thanks for all that you have done for me.
I actually began to shed tears of joy as I sat down and pondered over what I would write to you in this letter. All of a sudden I found myself in a nostalgic trance recounting all of our memories together. We have hilarious memories together like the time Abby and I got lost in Chicago and the time we posed for a photo with superheroes on the street. We have sad stressful memories together, for instance when Abby accompanied my family and I at my father’s wake and going through the rigorous process of writing my research papers. You believed in me at times when I didn’t believe in myself, and I thank you for that. We have a ton of studious memories as we seem to always be in deep discussion of the latest films and shows on Broadway. We’ve done it all and have created memories to last us a lifetime. You two have always been here for me and over the last few years we’ve created a very strong bond that will certainly ensure us a lifelong friendship together. I love you two beyond any and all expression deemed humanly capable.
I hope to have one day developed a heart as generous and pure as the hearts that you have. Recently, I heard the quote “If God has never done anything for you, he has already done more for you that you ever deserved.” And so, I truly do believe that if God has never done anything for me, then by allowing us to meet and share this truly amazing relationship he has already done so much more for me than I ever deserved. It always has been and will forever continue to be a great honor to be in your presence.


Mentee: Malik Carpenter
Mentor: Dennis McClelland

I would like to thank my mentor, Dennis McClelland, for everything he has done for me, especially for putting me through high school. I appreciate him for supporting me in everything I do and staying on me about my grades. I’m grateful to have a mentor that’s like Dennis and I hope he feels the same about me.


Mentee: Sydney Richardson
Mentor: Susan Asiyanbi
I appreciate my mentor for many reasons, and not just because she pays tuition for me. She talks to me when I need help and I feel like we have a special bond. She always offers to take me places and still comes to me with open arms, even when I don’t do my best. Even though we have only know each other for a short time, she’s like a sister to me and I love her for that.


Scholar: Kayla Robinson, Class of 2016
Mentor: Catie Cottle

My mentor is a hard working young woman whom I often look up to. Catie is a great example of how i would like to grow up. She’s pursuing her career in law while taking the time out to mentor a young high schooler. During the week before finals Catie sent me and encouraging e-card that really made me excited and ready to take my exams. Catie has helped me in many ways when it comes to grades, being organized, and balancing activites in my day to day life. I thank my mentor Catie Cottle for being a great mentor and a good friend.


Parent: Donna Miles, Class 2016
Mentor: Catie Cottle

Dear Catie: Thank you for accepting Kayla and sharing guidance for her education and life experiences. Look forward to building a relationship based on truth, encouragement and spirituality.


Scholar: Alan Peck, Class of 2014
Mentors: John & Christina Bullock

There are absolutely no words to express the feelings that I have for my mentors. From the first time that we met two and a half years ago, I knew that there was an instant click. Not only do they support me, but they also continue to help nourish and encourage me. I am forever indebted and beyond grateful for what they do for me. If there was a competition between people who were the most kind-hearted, generous, and loving, they would place first. There are so many things that I can say, which is a reason why this letter is seemingly going all over the place. I love my sponsors dearly, from the bottom of my heart. I just could not imagine what life would be like without them. I’m not worried in the least bit that we will ever stop being family. I call them family because they exemplify the qualities and traits that make them just that. I am looking forward to many, many more years with them. May God Bless them, and I pray that He may always keep them in his care.


Parents: Glenn and Carla Bone, Class of 2016
Mentors: Billy Arnaut and Laura Meecher

We are so thankful for our son’s great mentors Billy Arnaut and Laura Meecher. They have been a blessing to our son and our family. We prayed that he would receive a mentor who could enhance his life. We prayed he would receive a mentor that would be such a good influence in his life. His mentors exceeded my expectations. We never imagine his mentors would be so thoughtful, kind, loving, and generous. We immediately felt comfortable leaving our son in their care. They connected with our family right away, and we knew that we had found not just mentors, but family members. They began to connect with him from that day and have shared with Glenndon their time, attention and resources to give him a great high school experience, that will undoubtedly prepare him for life. They have given him an opportunity to expand his horizon in every area of his life. We are thanking God for sending them to us to mentor Glenndon and help him fulfill the purpose God has for his life. We look forward to a lasting relationship with our new family.


Scholar: Cierra Coleman, Class of 2014
Mentor: Pamela Austin

Dear Ms. Pamela Austin: I truly appreciate your help throughout my high school career. Not only have you helped me financially, but you have also helped me mentally. Because of you, I am more prepared for college than I would have been without a sponsor like you. You are an amazing woman that God has put in my life. I view you as a mentor that I can look up to, and I hope to be just like you when I grow up. I am thankful that LINK linked me up with someone as great as you. They paired me up with someone that is compatible with me; we share many of the same interests. All of the times that we have spent together mean a lot, and I appreciate the fact that you take the time out to be with me. I love the fact that you are so proud of me because of my grades and my behavior. I work hard so that I can please you and make you feel like you are investing in something good. I appreciate you and I am thankful for a special woman like you.


Scholar: Jeremy Thomas, Class of 2013
Mentor: Ric Noreen

If Link had given me the option to handpick my sponsor at the beginning of this journey, I truly believe that person would pale in comparison to who my sponsor, Ric Noreen, is today. The first time we met, we instantly clicked and from there we began to lay the groundwork for what now is a bond that will never be broken. Over the years we have both undergone changes and obstacles in our lives and we have both been there for each other in every way possible. Not only have my family and I enjoyed getting to know Ric but we have had the opportunity to get to know and love Sarah and Keighty. Ric is truly a remarkable man, from the beginning he has been there to push, support and listen. I am very grateful to have Ric in my life, and I look forward to a lifetime friendship.


Scholar: Martiyana Garfield, Class of 2016
Mentor: Katina Panagopoulos

I am absolutely thankful for my mentor! I am grateful for having met her. I am truly grateful for the financial contribution and support she pays for my education and her positive concern for my future. Ms. Katina is absolutely one of the greatest people I have met so far. She’s totally and absolutely amazing, in my opinion. Ms. Katina is a great inspiration to me, and I consider her to be a role model of mine. A person of love, happiness, and joy. A person who always displays an upbeat and friendly attitude. Although, I’m not going to pursue a career in her field, I’d like to be a person of integrity just like her. Ms. Katina is an extrovert who’s really friendly. I’m the complete opposite. I’d love it if my personality were more like hers. I haven’t known my mentor for very long, but I am very glad to have met her. I feel blessed that she’ll become a very big part of my life.


Scholar: Matthew Robinson, Class of 2016
Mentor: Richard Petracca

Mr. Rick you have been a part of my family for about eight years now and honestly, I couldn’t imagine my life without you. Mere words cannot express the admiration, appreciation and love that I have for you. I have watched you mentor my brother Lloyd from 2005 until now, lending career advice when asked and making sure that we both stay on top of our studies. From our very first meeting with you, you had the ability to quiet my mothers’ fears and welcome Lloyd and me into your life with open-arms. We’ve spent thanksgiving with you, your family and friends, barbecues at your home and countless dinners. You have extended yourself to us without conditions, which I am so thankful for. Mr. Rick, you are more than a sponsor to me, you are my family. Thank you for sponsoring both me and my brother. I pray that we have made you proud of us!


Scholar: Walter McBride IV, Class of 2016
Mentors: Steve & Alli Hackney

With the few months that I have spent with my mentors, they have taught me to always have an open mind and willingness to learn, and that it’s okay to learn on your own. I appreciate them for the valuable lesson that I can use for the rest of my life.


Scholar: Kierra Harris, Class of 2015
Mentor: Melanie Lacy

My mentor has been such a great inspiration for me. Not only in my education, but in social aspects as well. Melanie encourages me to be the absolute best and to step out of my comfort zone. She has helped me to try and figure out what I want to do when I finish school and what I need to accomplish to get there. Melanie is also really fun and outgoing, and has an awesome taste in music! She always has really fun activities planned for us and she encourages me to stop being so shy and quiet! Melanie is caring and nice always checks up on me. I am really happy and thankful to have her as my mentor. She has been such a great influence for me to work as hard as I can and be the best that I can be. Thank You, Melanie!!


Scholar: Jaliyah Henderson, Class of 2016
Mentors: Mindy Mercaldo & Steve Chychlyk

Dear Mindy and Steve: When I first met the both of you I noticed that we all have something in common. We all like to smile. I like to smile because I am happy to be a student at providence St. Mel, getting a great education, and getting help from two terrific mentors. Steve, I believe you smile a lot because you seem like a happy and proud father. When I went out to dinner with you, you Mindy, and Julia you asked me a lot about school like my grades and schedule. This let me know that you really care and hope that I Succeed. Mindy, I believe you smile a lot just because you are a happy person. Going to your job showed me many things. You were extremely happy to go to work and work your hardest. This showed me how efficient you were and how much fun you were having. Shadowing you at your job was very fun and helped me to consider banking another future career. You talked to me about balancing my time with academics and athletics. Thanks to this talk my GPA has improved and I am now on the basketball game. This has helped me to realize that you want me to get a good education but to still have fun at the same time. Meeting the both of you and your wonderful daughter was great. I had a good time and I can’t wait until the next time that we’ll see each other. Both of you are helping me to achieve my number one goal of getting a good education and being respectful and I really appreciate you both for that. Thank you so much.


Scholar: Michael Davis, Jr. Class of 2014
Mentors: Matt Tweeten and Patricia Petrowski

In the past three and a half years of knowing them, my sponsors Matt and Patty have been nothing but amazing to me. In addition to helping my parents send me to Marian which is awesome, they have always been there for me. Matt, Patty, and I have had some pretty great times together. We have been to a Chicago Bulls game which was fun and White Sox game even though Matt is a Minnesota Twins fan. Whenever I see Matt and Patty we always eat because that’s our favorite thing to do. I have been to their house a few times and they have cooked for me introducing me to different types of foods. Matt and Patty know that I love music and come to my band concerts when they can. We have even been to the Chicago Jazz Ensemble to listen to some great music. I also love the time I get to spend with their daughter Cecilia. Matt and Patty are great advocates for me as well with the LINK program because when I have struggling times they are always fighting and rooting for me no matter what which is why I love and appreciate them so much. I’m looking forward to this next year and a half of mentoring and to the future of our relationship past high school and college and hopefully for the rest of my life. THANK YOU SO MUCH MATT AND PATTY!


Scholar: Bailey Fourte’, Class of 2016
Mentors: Katie and Greg Girsch

My mentors have been a great part of my life so far. I was little bit nervous about meeting them because I did not know if we would have anything in common. But it turns out, that we have a lot of things in common. I grow closer and closer to my mentors everyday even though I do not see them every day. My mentors have done a lot for me that they do not have to do but they choose to do it. I appreciate having Mr. and Mrs. Girsch in my life and them doing things for me that they do not have to do. My mentors give me advice on things such as how to balance school and sports, college, and things as well. I hope to have a lifetime friendship with my mentors and that we can see each other in the future.


Parent: Tangie Bailey, Class of 2014
Mentor: Gail Fitzpatrick

I am sending “many” thanks to my daughter Taylor Bailey’s sponsor…..Gail Fitzpatrick. This genuinely nice person has taken my daughter under her wing and provided resources that I didn’t know existed. She has accepted my child into her family as her own. I am forever grateful to Ms. Fitzpatrick for showing my daughter that someone else can love her like I do. Thanks Gail for your tender talks and rapid walks with Taylor.


Scholar: Christa Prophete, Class of 2013
Mentors: Angela and Jonathan Swain

My sponsors, Angela and Jonathan Swain, have helped me so much over the past 4 years. I’m so glad to have them in my life.I love hanging out with Angela, going to see the Alvin Ailey dance company, and babysitting their 3 amazing sons. Both Angela and Jonathan have taken time to give me advice about college and life in general which I have taken to heart. Even though they are both busy they always let me know they are thinking of me. My sponsors were the 2nd people to find about my full tuition scholarship because I knew they would be happy for me and I greatly appreciate everything they have done for me:) They are truly amazing, and I love them very much!


Scholar: Darshon McCullough, Class of 2016
Mentor: Justin Johnson

Thank you to LINK and my mentor for the opportunity you have given me because I wouldn’t be going to the school of my choice. I appreciate what my mentor has been doing to help me and keep me on task in school. I just really thank you for giving me a chance to be something great in life.


Scholar: Justin Robinson, Class of 2016
Mentor: Matthew Panzica

My mentor, Matt, is a fun person to be around. When we first met he looked a little nervous, but now that we got to know each other I feel like we really bonded. We always check in with each other to make sure everything is going okay with each other. Matt is very supportive with my extra-curricular activities and he is very serious about my education. I really enjoy the time we spend together and I’m glad he’s my mentor.


Scholar: Keshaun Smith, Class of 2014
Mentor: Dennis Jones

My mentor has made a great impact in my life. He has shown me that no matter what I do to make sure I give it my all. For example, my grades dropped very low freshman year. My mentor, being on my side as always, reached out to my counselor and parents. Between the three of them, they all came up with a plan for me to be successful the next quarter and the rest of my freshman year. My mentor has also been very supportive of me and I really appreciate it. He has been to multiple sports events of mine and he has also supported me through any hard decisions I’ve had to make. Even if he didn’t agree with me, he still supported me. He’s also someone I can reach out to and talk to about anything. If I don’t feel comfortable talking to my parents or siblings I know I can always go to him.


Scholar: Kalin Pickett, Class of 2016
Mentors: Dennis & Jennifer O’Malley

Dear Mr. O’Malley: I just wanted to tell you that I am very thankful that I met you, Mrs. O’Malley, and Declan. I felt very welcomed when you invited Shonie and me to Lincoln Park Zoo to see the lights and animals with you and little Declan. He’s really cool and funny! I’m very blessed that I had this opportunity to receive the LINK scholarship and to get a wonderful mentor like you. I’m very thankful that Mrs. O’Malley was a biology teacher and she can help me. (Thank you Mrs. O’Malley!) I appreciate that you and your wife have taken the time to finically support my education. I hope through this scholarship, that we will form a lasting friendship though my college year and into adulthood. Thank you again!


Scholar: Jadah Jones, Class of 2014
Mentors: Jill Garling & Tom Wilson

Dear Tom and Jill: I really appreciate everything you have done for me. You have been such a huge help in my life. I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule and helping me. I enjoy all the outings we do. I enjoy when I get to hang out with your family when we bake cookies for the holidays. I appreciate the times when Tom gets me tickets for concerts. I enjoy the college counseling help because I know this is when things start to get crazy. I just want to say thank you for all you have done for me. Without you, I probably would not have the wonderful opportunity to attend the school I attend today. Thanks; I appreciate everything you two have done for me!


Scholar: Myles Bradley, Class of 2014
Mentor: David Berry

I just want to say thank you to my mentor, David Berry. I really appreciate everything you’ve done for me. And I’m not just talking about the times we hang out. You serve as an inspiration and role model for me to always work harder and never give up on anything I do. I see you work extremely hard to support not only me, but your job and family as well, which is something I hope to be able to do as well sometime in the future. Thank you, David, for all that you have done for me!


Scholar: Tayler Keenon, Class of 2016
Mentor: Kila Weaver

Dear Ms. Kila: I want to say thank you for everything that you have done for me. You have given me support that I could not have imagined. I always look forward to our outings because you teach me things I never knew. When we see something that is interesting you tell me all about it and I learn something new. The day we were to meet, I was a little apprehensive but seeing that my mother knew you already it made me feel a little better. But once I started to get to know you, I was sure you and I would be great friends. You have made a great impact in my life. I have become a better person now that you are a part of my life. So I once again I want to say thank you.


Scholar: Oscar Walker, Class of 2016
Mentors: Daphne & Mark Pals

My mentors have made a huge impact on my life. To emotional to physical, my mentors have been there for me. Anytime I felt down or needed that extra push to keep up the hard work, they have fixed it. Mark and Daphne have given me the opportunity to attend the school of my choice. Without them, I can’t even begin to realize the things I would have not seen or been open to. They have showed me to a whole new world that I never dared to open. I thank God for my wonderful mentors. They guide me, lend me strength, and challenge me to do my absolute best.


Scholar: Nicholas Holloway, Class of 2014
Mentor: Paul Garcia

My mentor, Paul, has had a great impact on my life so far. Even though we don’t meet very often I can say that I’m very glad that he is a huge part of my life, and is willing to sacrifice some things, just for me. Something that I will never forget is when he took me to a Chicago Bulls basketball game. It doesn’t sound like a very big deal, but for me it was because I have never been to a professional game before. We had nearly front row seats and you could pretty much see everything that t.v. couldn’t offer. Another thing I particularly like about my mentor is that he is very lay back and an all-around easy person to talk to. I feel that if I ever need to get something off of my chest, or need to express myself in any way, that he would be there for me and I wouldn’t be afraid to share my thoughts with him.


Scholar: Jada Rhodes, Class of 2016
Mentor: Michael Boykins

Dear Mr. Boykins: I would just like to start off by saying thank you for being my mentor. I know we haven’t been able to see each other that much but it’s nice to know you’re always able to be contacted. You are the majority reason I’m at St. Joseph right now. I don’t think I could thank you enough for that. I think it’s really cool that you have children around my age. I think it’s important to get connected to family because that’s what we all are at LINK. It’s Mentor Appreciation Month this month but I appreciate you every day that I know I’m able to attend St. Joseph. Thank you so much for helping me get closer to achieving my dream.


Scholar: Chandler Claude, Class of 2016
Mentors: Josh Mahoney & John Donley

John and Josh: I want to thank you for spending your time with me over the next four years. This month is dedicated to you both because of that. Since we met at the freshman initiation ceremony we have bonded a lot since then. We went to the Bulls game and went to dinner. The times that we have shared so far I am happy about and I can’t wait to share many more fun times with the two of you. I come to the both of you for advice on anything and you help me with it. My family and I love having you both around. My favorite thing about you both is that you love sports so we can relate on many things. Once again, I would like to thank you for everything!


Scholar: Brittney Bray, Class of 2016
Mentor: Paul Crimmins

Mr. Paul Crimmins is the ideal mentor. He is very generous, witty, and down to earth. I feel extremely honored to have him as my mentor. Mr. Crimmins also has a very nice family that I had the pleasure of meeting, and they are also extremely kind. To say that Mr. Crimmins is awesome is an understatement, and I say this because he is a 3 time LINK mentor (unimaginable right?), and he is very proud of his prior 2 Link students, whom I had a chance to meet. It was an amazing feeling. I am his third Link student , and I plan on making him proud also. I am truly thankful to him for all that he has done for me, investing in my future, believing in me, taking time out of his busy schedule to spend time with me. He is making a major impact in my life and my future.


Scholar: Donté Claybrooks, Class of 2014
Mentor: Phil Kain

Dear Phil: Thank you for making the sacrifice and investing both your time and money in me. You have opened opportunities for me that would otherwise not have existed. I appreciate the patience, kindness, and love shown by you and your family. I can see the positive example that you set by the way your family portrays them. Thank you for the opportunity to achieve something so desirable and necessary. My life has changed in so many ways because without you I wouldn’t be in a position that I am in today. You are my inspiration and when I grow up I want to help people and make impacts on lives the way that you did mine. I look up to you, and I pray for you every day. I hope that we get to see each other soon; maybe my parents will let me drive over! I miss you and again I just want to thank you for all that you have done, and to let you know that I thank GOD every day for you. I wish you a Happy New Year full of memories and laughter.


Scholar: Joy Rogers, Class of 2016
Mentors: Ramona and Brian Massengill

I would first like to thank all of the LINK staff for pairing me with the best blessing in my life. When I walked into the ceremony at St. Ignatius, I was not expecting such wonderful people. I thought my mentors would work close to the professions I want to pursue in life, but not be EXACTLY what I want to do in the future. Brian and Ramona are the best mentors in the entire world. They not only allow me to get a wonderful education at Mother McAuley, but they have helped me in other areas of life. Whether it be Ramona telling me how to take care of my leg when I injured it in dance, or Brian helping me get in a higher mathematics class so, as Brian says, he can sign papers for me to enter Stanford one day. Whatever I need help with, my mentors are always there. We recently just went to see the “Nutcracker” and I had never been. It was the absolutely most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Little things like that really put a smile on my face because it is nice to know that your mentors do not only care about you going to high school, but they actually care about you and your happiness. They make me feel like family and that is well appreciated. I love my mentors so much.


Scholar: Angelique Martin, Class of 2016
Mentor: Grant Mulvey

Dear Mr. Grant: I am writing this letter to tell you how much I appreciate you. I know January is the official appreciation month for mentors, but I want you to know that I appreciate you every month. The things that you have done for me have made me realize that you truly care for my well being and future. Thank you for taking me and my mother out to lunch because it was a wonderful time for both of us. I remember you kept saying how bright my future was and that just made me feel so loved in that room and I know that you will always be in my corner cheering me on. The conversations we have always put a smile on my face and warm my heart. I want you to know that you are my first mentor and I’m very glad that they chose you for me. We have a lot of similarities, such as reading and playing sports. The books that you bought me were very good. I love Nancy Drew because she’s a great mystery solver and she’s a teenager so I can relate to her. I am glad that you are a part of my life and will watch me grow into a well-respected woman. My family and I appreciate you very much because you’re special to all of us.


Scholar: Angela Williams, Class of 2016
Mentor: Rachel Thomas

Dear Rachel: I wanted to take this time to let you know how much you mean to me. Even though I have only known you for a few months, we have developed a relationship that is filled with trust and admiration. I have been able to share things with you that usually don’t come easily to me. I admire what you do in your career, your role as a mother, and most of all what you do for me as my mentor. I so enjoy the time that we spent sharing a meal together, skating, or just sitting around talking with my mom and sister. I appreciate the encouragement and advice that you give to me regarding my school work or about normal teenage problems. I also want you to know that I am working hard to make your time and contribution to me worthwhile. I not only want to make my mom proud but I want you, Rachel to be proud of me too. Lastly, i want you to know that I value our relationship and will always do my best to make what you and LINK do for me matter. Thank you!


Scholar: Christian Johns, Class of 2016
Mentor: Marcia & Carr Preston

My mentors, Marcia and Carr Preston, have had a great deal of impact on my life especially in the year of 2012 and a foreseeable impact in the future. Giving me the support I need to be able to go to Saint Ignatius is a debt that is priceless. I thank you Mr. and Mrs. Preston.


Scholar: Daniel Freeman, Class of 2016
Mentor: Ed Filer

Dear Ed: I want to thank you for everything you are doing for me. You are a big help in my life. You really push me to try to do new things. I’m glad you are in my life and that you are my mentor and you did not give up on me. Thank you!


Scholar: Bria Matemane, Class of 2015
Mentor: Sarah Noonan

My Mentor is amazing! She and I have a wonderful relationship. We communicate often, and I know Sarah truly cares about me. I love my mentor and wouldn’t change a thing about her!


Scholar: Jaspen Taylor, Class of 2016
Mentor: Duffy Lorenz

My mentor Duffy has truly impacted my life. When I started high school I struggled with Latin and my grades were not what I’m used to. Duffy and I had a talk and shared that she also struggled. She gave me pointers and now I’m on the right track. My grades have been improving. Everyone else was there for me and giving me pointers but I didn’t feel like it was helping. I felt like they were just judging me and they had never been through what I was going through. I felt different when Duffy talked to me. She connected with me. She understood what I was going through and it made me feel great – like I could really do better. Also Duffy has let me experience new things and enjoy some old things. My favorite outing we went on was ice skating. I had been ice skating before but was so terrified I barely touched the ice. Duffy helped me conqueror that fear and I really enjoyed myself. I very much appreciate my mentor!


Parent: Sherryl Donaldson, Class of 2013
Mentor: Paul & Libby Hybel

Paul and Libby: It is Christopher’s senior year at St. Joseph High and we could not have gotten here without your assistance. We are especially thankful for all the times you have spent talking to, counseling and getting to know Christopher. It does take a village to raise a child. Thank you for everything.


Scholar: Jelisa Powell, Class of 2014
Mentors: Eileen & John Berner

My mentors have changed my life because I have never met someone so kind, loving, generous, funny, and caring. Eileen and John have grown on me as the years passed. At first I didn’t know if I was going to open up as much as I did now. They make me laugh and have a great time when I am around them. Even though we don’t see each other as often, it makes the little moments and time we have special. They have changed my life because they have made me a better person as a whole. I have more joy, confidence, pride, ideas, and a better understanding of things. Sometimes I even try things I have never tried before and just be different. Eileen and John are people who strive me to do my best every step of the way. I have gotten straight A’s, started clubs, been in multiple clubs, and even get inducted into the National Honor Society because of their help and support. Without them I would have never grown as much as a person and found myself at the end.


Scholar: Jordan Odeh, Class of 2013
Mentors: Jerry & Sharon Putnam

I can’t begin to describe the love and gratitude I have for both of you. I am extremely lucky to have such amazing mentors. During our three years together, you guys have made me feel as if I am an extension of your family. I could argue that I have the best sponsors in LINK. You guys are kind-hearted, understanding, and loving people. If I could, I’d go back to the night we met and re-live it all over again. The two of you have opened your home to me, and shared with me some experiences I will never forget; from our holiday outings, to the many sports events we’ve attended, and the times I came to your beautiful home and we watched football and the Indy 500 together. Thank you for those memories and I hope to have many more. My time with you guys has truly been a blessing and I’m sad to see our time together wither away. Needless to say, I know after LINK and high school, I’ll not only have mentors to go back to, but an everlasting relationship with some wonderful friends of mine. I whole-heartedly thank you for every single thing you guys do for me.


Scholar: Brandon Narcisse, Class of 2016
Mentor: Ed Patterson

When I met my mentor, Ed Patterson, I was a bit nervous about what he would think of me. I wasn’t sure if we’d even be interested in the same things, but throughout the three months that we have gotten to know each other, that nervousness has faded away. He has made such an impact in my life in the short time I have known him and I look forward to a life long friendship with him. He has given me advice about school and life in general which has helped me tremendously. I will always remember the things he has told me because it is some of the best advice I have ever received. Every time we meet I learn something about him and he learns something about me. Each time we talk, he gives me a better vision of my future and what I can become if I continue to work hard in school and life. So thank you Ed, for not just choosing to be a mentor, but for being a great one.


Scholar: Robert Hoskins ’15
Mentor: Edward Swan

Edward Swan (AKA Ted) has made a huge difference in my life. He helps to send me to Saint Ignatius College Prep, which is a valuable learning experience. I also learn quite a few things from Ted though.

Ted has taken me on outings like restaurants (with a different cultural theme each time), and he has also taken me to a White Sox game to see his favorite Chicago sports team play. He also supports me by coming to my soccer games and band concerts. It makes me happy to see him there with my family supporting me.

Ted also helps me with my academic work. He gives great study advice, and helps improve my writing. I know I can send him an essay to proofread and give feedback, and he helps me to improve my writing, which is not my strong suit.

In addition to all these things, Ted is helping to prepare me for college and beyond. I discuss the pros and cons of schools and he shares his knowledge with me. He also has taken me to lunch with his nephew, a pilot, because he knows that aviation is the career choice I am focusing on. He and his nephew were able to provide me with a lot of important information about what being a pilot is all about, and what I need to do to prepare. He also plans to take me to meet with an accountant, which is another career path I am interested in.

Ted has made a big difference in my life and will continue to be there for me. He helps me with my academics, and takes me places that help me to experience new things. This all helps to prepare me for college and beyond, and I am so grateful that I have Ted.

Thanks so much Ted!


Scholar: Tyler Watts, class of 2015
Mentor: Dennis White

“My mentor is a really nice and helpful person to be around and he gives me good advice. He took me with him to one of the games where he was coaching a teenage basketball team. I watched his coaching technique and I was impressed. He coached them similar to the way he advises me. He has taken me out to eat a few times and I have been to his home and met his family. I like being around him. When I had some difficulties he was there to listen and give me advice. Good advice. He know sports and I like to talk to him about sports especially football and basketball. He came to see me compete in track. He encourages me. He is a laid back guy and I like that because I’m laid back. He’s easy to talk to and he has great kids. I like them.”


Parent: Marian Cooper-Johnson, class of 2013
Mentors: Howard Bloomstein & Barbara Macikas

“God worked through the Link Staff when pairing students and mentors together. I will never forget that day they were walking through the doors of that banquet room. I told Kareem, “Your mentors are walking through the door.” He told me that I did not know what I was talking about. Low and behold they came to our table and were looking for him. It has been a blessed and pleasant journey with them.”


Scholar: Rashold Whitaker, class of 2014
Mentor: Todd Dokes

“I would first like to start off by saying it has been a wonderful three and a half years with my mentor, Todd Dokes. These three and a half years have been nothing short of exciting. A very humerous and charismatic guy, he seems to always have something funny or wise to say (most of the time it’s funny). One thing I can say about Mr. Dokes is that he is so so smart. Any time we talk or spend time with one another, we always give each other knowledge on any topic we discuss. I like talking about World History with Mr. Dokes. One day I came over for an Exam Review on my World History semester exam last year and we watched the movie Braveheart. There was a silly scene in the movie that we both loved. Any time we are together, no matter what we are doing, this particular scene always seems to be brought up. Mr. Dokes gets a kick out of it because he is a naturally silly guy (don’t tell him I said that). It makes me laugh so hard, that I leave with headaches. Times like these are irreplacable for me. I am the only child so I don’t know what if feels like to have those fun memories with an older sibling. Mr. Dokes somewhat fills the void as my brother and makes me feel like I can discuss just about anything with him if I ever had to (except girls, NOOOO!). Mr. Dokes is the BEST sponsor a guy like me could ask for! So may I continue to have him in my life for a lifetime because I intend to keep it that way. And may we always enjoy one anothers company, because he talks a lot…actually more than a lot but I love him!”