Up & Coming Weekly

September 21, 2021

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM 14 UCW SEPTEMBER 22-28, 2021 EDUCATION FTCC's Male Mentoring Program can help students find their way forward by GARY WOMBLE JR. Have you ever found yourself not knowing how to navigate through a specific issue? I have been in this situation many times. Establishing a relationship with my mentor is what broke this cycle in my life. Growing up, I displayed a love for music. Dating back to even my diaper-wearing days, the rhythmic beats of drums captured my attention and moti- vated me. As I approached my teenage years, I wanted to play the drums at church. As I stepped closer to the drums at my church, I realized that I did not know how to play that shiny five-piece instrument and that I needed a teacher. What happened next was my game-changer. I heard the baritone, barren voice of the church's drummer ask me, "Do you know how to play the drums?" I responded that I did not, and he became my drum teacher and eventually a trusted mentor. While enrolled in beginner drum lessons, I learned the mechanics of drumming and music performance. However, I also learned the value of character traits such as hard work, persistence and endurance. My teacher went beyond music; he became my first men- tor. He routinely asked about my grades and never failed to remind me that drumming was secondary to my academics. He always sought ways to speak positively, encourage me and make certain that I knew he cared about me. Twenty plus years later, he and I still have an ongoing mentor/mentee relationship and he continues to support me as I navigate manhood. Giving back to others has become my life's mission, and being a mentor is my passion. I have worked in education for the past ten years in various capacities to share my passion. As the Male Mentoring Coordinator at Fayetteville Technical Community College, I provide aca- demic support to enrolled male students as they work towards completing their programs and overcome common barriers that may im- pede their academic success. My recent efforts are aimed at developing literacy, employability and promoting a healthy lifestyle among the male students. Building meaningful relationships represents my overarching objective as a mentor. I often refer back to my younger days when I had a mentor and I try to model my mentoring ap- proach after his "check and connect" model. At FTCC, I provide weekly "check and connect" conferences and group meetings with students whom I mentor. ese meetings provide aca- demic advising and personal support and also help students find and obtain work. It is a joy and privilege to guide students through their scholastic and personal endeav- ors. Everyone can benefit from additional support to reach success — whether personal, academic or professional. I invite you to join us for fall semester. Class- es begin Oct. 14 for the eight-week session, and you'll have plenty of FTCC resources to help you find your way forward. At Fayetteville Technical Community College, Mentoring Matters! Contact me wombleg@faytechcc.edu for information about how the Male Mentoring program at FTCC can help you. GARY WOMBLE JR. FTCC, Success Coach .COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200.

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