"It takes patience, understanding, patience, patience, more patience, and a lot of love."
Carlos Johnson, 36, of Jackson, Mississippi, mentors young people in his area who are in need of a male role model.
What kind of philanthropic or volunteer work did/do you do?
Carlos: I tutor and coach children. My preference is to work with children from single-parent families. I wish to do this full time but I'm not financially able to leave my job.
What is the name and location of the organization?
Carlos: I have not given my services a name. I devote this time from my home and from coaching in local sports leagues. We hold carwashes to raise money so the kids can get out of the inner city to see other places throughout the year.
Tell us about the project, especially who benefited from this work.
Carlos: The kids benefit from my services, and their parents benefit too by having a mentor or father-like figure for their young child, who may otherwise grow up with no structure or example of how to conduct themselves.
What inspired you to get involved?
Carlos: I want to reach out and save as many children as I can, so not having anyone around will no longer be an excuse.
How did you first get involved? Give us some details.
Carlos: My grandmother and I helped my sister, a single mother, raise her children, and from that I extended my services to other kids.
What is/was the best thing about your experience?
Carlos: I get a chance to let young kids know they matter, and that they mean something to someone in this world. If their life had a bad start, it doesn't have to end up that way. As long as you're breathing, there's time to make a difference.
What is/was the hardest part?
Carlos: Parents who are willing to assist in this process is vital.
What was the biggest surprise?
Carlos: Seeing how much honest commitment I received when the children's brothers assisted in the mentoring process.
What new things have you learned as a result of your experience and how have you changed as a result?
Carlos: I've learned a lot about the world and the people who live in it. Everyone wants to talk about helping the youth, and for the most part it's just talk. It takes patience, understanding, patience, patience, more patience, and a lot of love.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
Carlos: Let your heart guide you, and what ever you expect to benefit from it, I pray that it's intangible, spiritual, and God-filled.
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