The MENTOR Network

Success Stories

Jameer is at Center Stage

The MENTOR Network's Therapeutic Foster Care program

Jameer, 16, is a natural performer. Give him an audience, and he will make sure everyone in the room is happy.

“My dream is to become an R&B artist. I really like lifting spirits and making people smile,” he said.

With the guidance of his foster parent, Arvis, and the support provided by New Jersey MENTOR’s Therapeutic Foster Care program—which matches children, adolescents, and teens with dedicated foster parents who we call Mentors—Jameer is well on his way to achieving his goals. He sings and writes music, and recently had the opportunity to share a story about his life and about a time when there wasn’t as much laughter.

As part of the application process for comedian Steve Harvey’s Mentoring Program’s Weekend for young men, Jameer wrote an essay entitled “What it feels Like Growing up Without a Dad.”

“I never heard him say ‘I love you,’” Jameer said of his father, in the essay. “I have no memories of playing catch and no memories of sharing any of my interests in music with him.”

Jameer’s story resonated with the Steve Harvey Mentoring Program, and he was one of 100 boys selected from over 1,000 applicants nationwide to participate. The weekend featured workshops and activities designed to “share, teach and demonstrate the principles of manhood to young men.” “It was an experience of a lifetime,”Jameer said.

Jameer Bonds with Arvis through Music

Arvis recognized that the program had a tremendous impact on Jameer. And if anyone would know, it would be Arvis.

Since welcoming him into her home in 2010, Arvis has watched Jameer transform from a child with behavioral challenges into a positive, courageous young man. Arvis, a singer herself, recalls how the two first bonded over their shared love of music.

“He was a little quiet at first, but we really hit it off with music and he’s blossomed since then,” said Arvis.

Jameer, a member of their church’s choir, performs solos and has opportunities to lead the church in prayer.

“He calls it ‘freestyle praying,’” Arvis said. “It’s amazing to watch him perform.”

While performing is at the forefront of Jameer’s vision for his future, he wisely understands that becoming a professional singer can be a difficult dream to realize. For that reason, he intends to go to college and study criminal justice or the business aspect of music. The importance of education is yet another lesson he has learned from his Mentor.

“We have that mother-son relationship, and it is a blessing to have her by my side,” Jameer said. “When I moved in with Arvis I was a little shy. But now, thanks to her guidance and New Jersey MENTOR, I am more open. I’ve really had the chance to learn a lot.”