Mentoring 365 Project: Breaking The Cycle

May 11, 2015

chuck profileHow satisfying that is to be a part of [mentoring], how honored we are to be a part of the lives of these young people”

–       Chuck Slocum

Charles Slocum’s involvement in mentoring displays an undeniable dedication and appreciation for the field. Chuck’s passion for the topic can easily be felt through his consistent involvement in writing articles focused on the impact and importance of mentoring. In addition to writing about mentoring, Chuck also participates in mentoring hundreds of youth, and has done so for over a decade. His introduction into mentoring came as the result of an unfortunate tragedy; Chuck’s only son passed away at the age of 20. It was after this tragedy that Chuck began to really consider mentoring as something he wanted to become more involved in. Reminiscing on the days of attending field trips, and coaching his son, Chuck wanted to continue to have a profound impact on the lives of the young people he would encounter.

Before mentioning his own accomplishments as a mentor, Chuck spoke about a few of the mentors who provided him with guidance and direction as a young man. One of his mentors was his high school principal, Mr. Paulson. Chuck describes Mr. Paulson as a man who was stern, but also had an integrity that many admired. Mr. Paulson frequently advocated for hard work and clean living and his interactions with Chuck kept an already well-disciplined young man on the path to success. Another mentor Chuck praised was one of his college history professors, Mr. Crater. While attending Hamline University, Chuck learned invaluable lessons both academically and personally while taking Professor Crater’s class.

“Kids need at least one caring, loving adult in their lives to get a shot.”

–       Chuck Slocum

Chuck understands how essential the presence of a caring adult can be on the youth’s ability to succeed and made an intentional decision to remain active in the mentoring community through hands on involvement. This was best explained when Chuck said, “Rather than put in ten hours a month on the board of a nonprofit that’s devoted to mentoring, I’d  rather spend that time with kids.”

Chuck has become a caring adult for many youth during his time as a mentor. He shared the story of his mentee Brittany and the moment in which she declared that she would “break the cycle,” and was met with opposition and doubt by others. But with the support of Chuck and his wife Francelle, Brittany has been able to achieve many goals, starting with graduating high school, then college and securing a job. This experience shows the ability of a mentor to ignite a fire and passion for education within a young person and give them the drive to beat the odds. What stood out as particularly important about their relationship was that Chuck became Brittany’s biggest advocates. Being the first person to tell a young person “you can do it,” truly demonstrates the power of support.

Chuck and Francelle years ago with Raffi & Brittany, two North Minneapolis kids who became friends through

Chuck and Francelle years ago with Raffi & Brittany, two North Minneapolis kids who became friends through “Life Coaches”

“I believe that’s my marker, being an advocate for mentoring and spending time with kids.”

–       Chuck Slocum

Chuck takes every opportunity he can to mentor, he keeps a stash of foam balls and bats in his trunk to bring out for his mentees or youth he interacts with whenever he has a chance. He truly believes in the use of sports and physical activity to further engage the youth and help deepen relationships. As a member of Hamline’s Athletic Hall of Fame, Chuck has an appreciation for the lessons he learned as a wrestler in college, and the benefits of sports to healthy youth development.

“The demographics suggest that we have parents, men and women, who will have long lives ahead of them, even after their work lives are completed, and to have them trained to do something they already know how to do, which is probably raising kids. To have them trained to be helpful to kids who really need the help is part of the vision of our country. We have to give back.”

–       Chuck Slocum

Julia Maria, now a doctor in Brazil, taken on a recent visit to São Paulo; Julia Maria is one of eight exchange students hosted by Chuck and Francelle Slocum.

Julia Maria, now a doctor in Brazil, taken on a recent visit to São Paulo; Julia Maria is one of eight exchange students hosted by Chuck and Francelle Slocum.

Chuck looks forward to the future of mentoring in Minnesota, he believes the time is right and with the impact quality mentors can have on the youth we could make significant strides towards promoting the success of our at-risk youth. Giving back has become a major part of Chuck’s life, as both a mentor and a contributor to the mentoring conversation; he has continually demonstrated his passion for the work of the mentoring programs throughout Minnesota, and promoted the presence of mentoring in our society. The youth and the Minnesota mentoring community have benefited greatly from Chuck’s work, and will continue to benefit as he remains dedicated to supporting mentoring in Minnesota.