Damarion and his mentor, Rich, build skills for the future - Damarion earns a full ride scholarship to college
Damarion, one of our most recent high school graduates, is a great older brother and quite the jokester, once you get to know him. He’s also a goal-oriented, hardworking student who has secured a full-ride scholarship to an HBCU.
Damarion and Richmond at Damarion's elementary school graduation
Richmond became Damarion’s professional mentor when Damarion transitioned to the teen program in 5th grade. Since then, Richmond has partnered closely with Damarion’s family to help him build the skills he needed to succeed socially and academically. Damarion has shown impressive growth throughout his middle and high school years.
In middle school, Damarion and a classmate made some questionable choices that could’ve led them to some big trouble. His mom and his mentor put up a united front. They encouraged Damarion to take accountability for his actions and choose friends who would be good influences.
Fast forward to freshman year of high school: between football practice, his social life, and more challenging classes, Damarion's grades started to slip. His mom decided it was time for him to move to a different school. With a close support network and free of distractions, during his first term he got straight A’s.
Damarion came up with a proposition with his mom to return to his previous school if he kept those straight A’s for the full year. However, they soon realized he was really starting to enjoy himself at his new school. He shifted his priorities to focus more seriously on his academics. He was getting a lot done. “If you do anything new, you’ll have an adjustment period,” Richmond said. “Then [Damarion] really got it.” He started to feel more confident, and more constant success followed
Over the years, Damarion and Richmond have spent their time together working on Damarion’s goals. “He really dedicates himself to anything that has to do with getting him prepared for the next thing,” said Richmond. When Damarion wanted to focus on health, they worked out together. Before Damarion got his license, they were persistent in studying for his driver’s test. When Damarion was on the field for a football game or track meet, Richmond was always in the stands. Richmond describes their relationship as more of a partnership. “It’s equal all the way out. He knows what he needs and wants and we just find ways to do it."
Damarion surrounded by all of his college acceptance letters
“His biggest accomplishment is that full ride scholarship to college,” Richmond reflected. “If you’d asked him a couple of years ago, he’d have had no idea.” Damarion planned on attending college but did not have a particular place in mind. When the offers started pouring in, he was surprised at first. But then, “when you see results of something you didn’t think you could do but are actually capable of doing, it makes [that goal] more reachable,” said Richmond. Damarion has decided to attend Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas on a full scholarship and will study education.
Richmond knows that Damarion is ready to take on these exciting changes. He’s also confident that their relationship will remain strong. “It might not be week to week, but it’s not going to stop,” said Richmond. When Damarion’s next goal comes around, they’ll tackle it together.