Mentorship program encourages success among black youth

Some Minneapolis students of color received invaluable life lessons and encouragement from a group of pros as part of a special mentorship program.

The event called “How to survive as a black man in America” held at Patrick Henry High School connected young men with dozens of potential role models.

James Cole Jr. from the Obama Administration was the VIP guest. He spoke directly to students at Patrick Henry about life, school and how to succeed.

“I grew up in Chicago, the south side of Chicago,” said Cole.

Cole, a U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education heads up President Obama's My Brother's Keeper task force for the department. It’s a nationwide effort the President launched a couple years ago to close the opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color to ensure that everyone is given the chance to reach their full potential.

"I wasn't going to go off to college,” said Cole. “And my mentor in 10th grade, Ms. Schmidt, she convinced me to go to the University of Illinois and when I pushed back, she said I should stay with her son."

Students got the chance to sit down with professionals, who look like them and have gone through similar experiences, to ask questions and to potentially start mapping out a career.

Students say their biggest takeaways were education matters and to never give up on your dreams.

"I'd like to live my life, be free, do real estate, own stores - all that,” said Kavion Vaughn, a freshman at Patrick Henry High School.

"I want to be an entrepreneur, make a company like Google or Apple and sell or make technology,” said Marvion Davis, a Patrick Henry High School freshman.