Helping Others Through Mentoring
“For a long time, I just felt like I was in a box, that I didn’t have a purpose.”
Stacia, 21, is President of Think Make Live. She is responsible for driving the Columbus, Ohio, nonprofit’s work to build community engagement through trainings, workshops, and consulting—all led by young people. She is driven by a sense of curiosity and passion. That passion and persistence helped her find her career path and rise to her leadership role at Think Make Live. We connected with Stacia to learn more about her journey as an effective young leader.
How did you join Think Make Live?
I met Terry Green [the young founder of Think Make Live] at a trading and financial literacy group. He wanted to enroll as a new student, so he had come to take a tour and see what it’s about. I ran up to him and was like, “Where are you from? What do you do?” I started looking him up and reading more about his organization. The more I started seeing what the organization was about the more I thought, “This might be something I’m very interested in!”
I went to the first annual Social Justice Awards that they put on. At the event, I saw that Terry had brought firefighters, police officers, judges, doctors, and people from other nonprofit groups into one room to acknowledge one another’s heroic contributions in Columbus. Ever since then, I’ve stayed involved. I love the mission and enthusiasm that Terry brings.
What first drew you to the field of youth organizing and community strengthening?
Growing up, I never really knew what a mentor was. You don’t see that as a job listing unless you’re looking for it. I didn’t know something like that was out there. For a long time, I just felt like I was in a box, that I didn’t have a purpose or anything.
I was doing online marketing and had trainers who really helped me learn how to market and talk to people. It helped me land a good sales job. From there I realized that it is not that I’m into sales; I’m into people: being around people, helping people, lifting people. No other career I could find had that wrapped up in it except mentoring.
Ever since I met my first mentors in Columbus, Ohio, I’ve been running with them, learning from them, and growing into becoming a mentor. I’m learning that when it’s not just about me, when it’s about other people, I can live a happy, purposeful life. I’m working a lot now, and I love what I do.
Why is mentoring important to you?
It’s powerful to equip people with knowledge. I feel like financial literacy is so powerful when taught and used correctly. I’ve seen people who were regular citizens and then they became homeless and life just got overwhelming for them. I want the money problem solved for all parents and children.
Everything costs money. It cost money to get mental health support, even with insurance!
If a child is going through something and needs mental health support, I don’t want them to have to wait until they are older and figure it out on their own just because money was an issue. I want them to be able to get the resources now. That’s a gap I want to bridge.
What does opportunity look like to you?
One of my mentors says, “Does opportunity knock at the door begging for you to come for it?”
A lot of people will say, “Yeah, opportunities are everywhere you look!” But the best opportunities wait silently in the corner for you to go toward them. Opportunity takes time. It takes work. You have to fall in love with the process.
For me, it’s all about giving youth the skills to reach for the opportunity that they want. I want youth to know that they are limitless and they deserve these opportunities.
What keeps you hopeful?
All the corruption and negativity in the world give me more motivation to do what I’m doing and stay on the path I’m on. A lot of things are broken and need to be fixed. As long as I’m doing as much as I can do, even if it is just a little, I’d rather do that than do nothing at all.