Tacoma Mentorship Program Launch!
We are thrilled that this year we were able to officially launch our high school mentorship program in partnership with the Lakes High School football team in Lakewood, WA. Lakes High School was a natural starting partnership for us as Zach is an alumnus, and head coach Dave Miller shares our commitment to developing young student-athletes not just on the football field but as well-rounded men. The purpose of our mentorship program is to support students by teaching and demonstrating the important characteristics and values of community leaders. We strive to create a safe space in which students can discuss their lives, grow and set goals for themselves and learn from the wisdom and encouragement of older community mentors.
Our first year featured a six-week program anchored in our foundation motto, “bringing together, building together, better together.” Our 10 student-athletes, all members of the Lakes football team, met bi-weekly after practice to discuss the week’s theme, receive a message from Zach, and spend time with our program coordinator, Daniel Davis. Daniel was born and raised in the Greater Tacoma Area and was eager to lead a mentorship program at his alma mater! Below is his first-person recap of an incredible first semester of mentorship. Enjoy!
This year was our first official year launching our high school mentorship program. However, mentoring youth has been a large part of all our team’s lives long before we launched the B3 Foundation. And that’s the special part! Zach’s vision and heart for the B3 Foundation comes from his own experiences, which include a mentorship program in high school that greatly impacted his development as a student-athlete. I had a similar experience growing up in the Greater Tacoma area. Someone made an impact on my life as a teenager and that impact was enough to give me a passion to want to develop a similar mentorship program as an adult. I experienced firsthand what it was like to have an individual in the community believe in me, invest time in helping me succeed and give me the support and encouragement to overcome obstacles in my life.
I grew up in the Tacoma and Clover Park school districts. There were many teachers, coaches and community members that helped me get to where I am today. I was able to benefit from people in the community who wanted to give back and invest in my life. Looking back, I realize there were so many other students at my school who could have benefited greatly from having a committed mentor in their lives. All children need someone who believes in them, who can encourage them to unlock their inner greatness. Often for many students growing up in underprivileged communities, that belief in themselves has been dampened or discouraged. Through our B3 Mentorship Program, I want to show the children we work with that they already have everything they need to succeed within them. I want to show them how to set goals, make a plan and achieve all that they want to in their lives.
In our first year of mentoring, we welcomed 10 student-athletes. Each of these young men had something unique about them. Their engagement in our weekly sessions, their dedication to their own growth and their desire to impact their own community was amazing. They were all open to being vulnerable and growing as leaders. It was really incredible to receive weekly videos from Zach that shared his perspective on our themes and served as a launching point from which to have our discussions. I applaud all of our mentees for their incredible work and dedication this fall.
We structured the program in six different sessions. We met every other week and each month connected to one of our foundation’s “Three B’s” – Bringing Together, Building Together, Better Together. Weeks 1 and 2 were what we referred to as our “Build Phase.” In this first month, we discussed identity and goal setting. Each of our mentees agreed that they refused to be put in a box and defined by stereotypes or outward perceptions. They committed to defining themselves and taking control of who they are and where they are going in their lives. Weeks 3 and 4 were our “Bringing Phase”, which encompassed the topics of respect and trust. We explored how the importance of both of these values allows us to not only transform our own lives, but to also make a difference in the lives of others. Finally, weeks 5 and 6 were our “Better Phase”, in which we talked about leadership, compassion and generosity.
We at the B3 Foundation are honored to have been able to touch the lives of these young men this fall. The amazing part of mentorship is that it does not just end with this program. Each of these 10 student-athletes will be a part of B3 forever. We are better together!