3-Degree Guarantee: Organization working to empower and mentor Atlanta’s youth

3-Degree Guarantee: Mentoring Atlanta's Youth
Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 11:31 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The future starts now! A group of Georgians are focusing on raising up Atlanta’s youth.

Mentoring is about more than being around for a challenging time or two, it is being consistent, showing up when you don’t have to. The staff at Essential2Life believe mentoring can alter the course of someone’s life and who knows what kind of person that someone might be.

“Essential2life is a youth leadership program here in Atlanta. Our goal is to help students in Title 1 high schools, first get out of high school and second to get into college or career with little or no debt,” said Darrick Graham, Essential2life Executive Director.

The organization wraps its arms around kids and helps them navigate life before and after high school, giving them guidance and support to reach their dreams.

“I was adopted by my aunt because my mom and dad are both incarcerated. They were incarcerated throughout most of my childhood,” said Dre Jones, Essential2Life Intern.

The FIFTEEN Program covers everything from life skills to career planning. According to the organization, students who go through the program have a 100% high school graduation rate, with 89% going to college and six percent going to the military. Dre Jones started in the program at 15, and he never stopped. Now he is an intern.

“Even though you have certain circumstances you don’t have to allow that to stop you from having anything that anyone else has,” said Jones.

Sometimes, the words that mean the most to us are the words that were seldom said to us as kids. As adults, they become beacons — reminders that we can always create the lives we’re dreaming of.

“Something they always say is, ‘If you need anything let me know.’ It means a lot to me even though I will probably never ask for anything but just knowing. No one says that to me but they will say it and they really mean it,” said Jones.

Dre is a junior at Georgia State studying audio engineering.

To learn more about Essential2Life or get involved in the FIFTEEN leadership program, click here.

The Three Degree Guarantee helps raise money for nonprofit organizations serving the metro Atlanta community.