The first time Gulfstream Goodwill Industries (GGI) met Devante was in June 2019. The Distance Mentoring program (GGI program targeted youth between 13-22 years old with involvement in the criminal justice system) hosted a presentation at the Delray Probation office. One of the probation officers wanted GGI to meet a youth that had been involved in a serious altercation at school and was at risk of being expelled from school. Devante had brought a knife to school to protect himself as he was being bullied for his weight and being bi-racial. Devante was just 13 years old and was in desperate need of a positive role model to help guide him and redirect anger and aggression towards something positive.
Gulfstream Goodwill found a mentor for Devante, Jerone Farewell, who is also bi-racial and faced similar issues growing up. Little did he know that he was going to meet his future best friend. The very next month, in September 2019, the courts were willing to work with Devante and allow him to change under the care of the mentoring. The journey between Devante and his mentor, Jerone, began very quickly as they conducted several one-on-one “pro socials” together. The requirement was four hours a month, but they went above and beyond and conducted “pro-socials” every week. Their relationship grew stronger and stronger, and Devante finally found that big brother he was yearning for. Devante was never re-arrested and participated in several community service projects. As a result, on January 30th, 2020, he was successfully discharged from probation. In addition, he also completed nine months of the mentoring program.
His grandmother was so pleased with the program that she wrote a letter to express how she felt. “We would like to take this opportunity to thank Gulfstream Goodwill for the support and guidance you have given to Devante and know you will continue to give. Your Gulfstream Goodwill mentoring program has been a blessing in his life. He is so excited to hear that he will be going on a field trip or even doing community service. Never in a million years would we have thought he would love doing community service, but with everything GGI do with him, he gets excited to want to go. How could I ever express my thanks for your mentorship program Truly we have been blessed to have you all in our grandson’s life”.