OVER SEVENTY PERCENT of adults in our prison system come from homes without full or partial parental oversight. That being said, a major problem for young men in Savannah, and nationwide, is the loss of a parent due to abuse, addiction, death, separation, or incarceration. In most cases, these guys are left without direction and purpose and they have no network to lean on or mentors to follow. Read the newspaper daily and you will see the need for a strong mentoring network in Savannah.
Having an impact on young men in the community who are lacking a father figure, and coaching them, and more importantly providing a network for them to draw on for jobs, schools, and internships was something I wanted to do. As a young man whose father was not there for me, I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to start over, go back to school, intern in accounting firm, and finally, after working my way up in that business, eventually start my own. My involvement in Xcel is a way of giving back to those who need such an opportunity.
Xcel connects Bethesda students to jobs and to a team of five mentors. The young men really feel like they've got somebody on their team that they can count on. Jay Thompson is a superman in our community with a heart to help others.
Before participating in the Xcel program, there were many areas of my life that needed improvement, which is appropriate for any 18 year old kid who was fresh out of high school. Xcel helped me to improve in all of these areas, but I improved significantly in the area of goal setting. I always had visions for what I wanted to do, but getting there was a different story. Xcel’s goal setting course gave me the knowledge and the tools that allowed me to make achievable short-term and intermediate goals that would ultimately allow me to succeed in the end and achieve my long term goals. As of today, it has been four years since I was a student of the Xcel training course, and I have achieved the long term goals that I set for myself back then. I am now a student at Georgia Tech aiming to receive a degree in mechanical engineering, and Jay is still involved in my life.