Volunteers are a tremendous asset to Thurgood Marshall Academy. Ky’Eisha Penn volunteers with our Mentor Program and our Howard Law Academy program, and shares her mentoring experiences in the following Q&A. She is currently a 3rd year Law student at Howard University. She attended Florida State University, in Tallahassee, FL for undergrad and Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University for graduate school.
Can you tell me about your experience coordinating the Howard Law Academy program?
I’ve been helping with coordinating Howard Law Academy (a series of workshops for TMA’s 10th graders) since my 1L year and I am passionate about the work we do, our interactions with the students and mentoring in particular because I remember where I was in life when I was their age at an inner-city high school. I vividly remember needing guidance and needing a mentor and I am committed to be to other youth what it is that I needed. I keep that in the forefront of my head when interacting with Howard Law Academy students, as well as with my interactions with my mentee, Dakota.
Can you tell me more about your mentoring relationship with TMA student, Dakota?
Our mentor-mentee relationship happened pretty organically. We had interactions through Howard Law Academy where I facilitated a few workshops to the group she was a part of at the time, and I also attended events at the school where we had interactions as well. We talked about her mentor through the formal school program at the time and her experience thus far, and then she asked if I could be her mentor. I’m one who believes you can never have too many, so we’ve tried to work out mentor-mentee relationship the best way we knew how, with having completely different schedules. I have had an opportunity to meet her siblings, her mother and her aunt throughout our relationship, which I appreciate so that her family can also develop a relationship with me if they do choose since I hope to have a positive impact on Dakota’s life.
Where would you take a mentee on a Saturday?
This is my first time mentoring a student in high school, as I’ve mentored more college students, but on a typical Saturday, a mentor-mentee date for me would be lunch or froyo which would give us an opportunity to chat and catch up.
What excites you about being a mentor?
What excites me most about being a mentor is having the ability to support my mentee in various endeavors and watch them succeed. It’s a part of me being all of what I wish I had when I was in high school and it’s extremely fulfilling. I am just thankful to TMA and Dakota in particular for the opportunity to be a positive influence to others.