High-schooler Jesse Campbell, inspired to mentor local youth, volunteers at New Haven’s Boys and Girls Club and encourages the kids to find their full potential. Developed in partnership with NBC News Learn. To learn more about Red Nose Day: www.RedNoseDay.org
Kids Helping Kids: Mentoring Makes a Difference
STEPHANIE BARNES (Boys and Girls Club of New Haven): New Haven is a great city, but we have our challenges, just like many cities across America. Issues of crime, poverty, drugs, gun violence. Unfortunately, we're faced with all of those things. So many of the children that we serve here are living in poverty. Many are coming from households where there's a single parent working, you know, maybe one or two jobs. The Boys & Girls Club serves as that safe space for kids and their families— where they can learn and be mentored.
JANICE BRADLEY (Jesse's Mother): I am the proud mom of Jesse Campbell. I had to work because I had to support the family. And because of that, I needed a place for him to go. I thought about the Boys & Girls Club. It was always a welcoming place, a safe place. I didn't ever have to worry about him.
JESSE CAMPBELL (Boys and Girls Club of New Haven): Having the club definitely kept me out of trouble. I grew up in this area-- in the Hill. I was raised by a single parent, my mom. I love my mom. She's a great person. She taught me hard work and dedication.
BRADLEY: One of the things that gets Jesse down is the absence of his father. Here he had that male role model that can talk to him about peer pressures as bein' a man, that let him know that-- even though your father's not here, we're here for you.
CAMPBELL: My mentor was Mr. Seth, and having him in my life definitely impacted me to realize that I have so much potential as a young man. I think going to these mentors, I was trying to see if can get that father figure in my life. But just them being there definitely helped me get through it.
BRADLEY: With the mentoring he became a better person. Before, he was a little hesitant and laid back. But he got a little more outspoken about things. He was able to talk to other people about things they were goin' through, if they were goin' through peer pressures. He can identify with it. He was able to relay that to somebody else how he overcame it.
CAMPBELL: So, I became a mentor. It just fell into my lap, and I accepted it fully. What I really like about mentoring is being able to teach kids that they have so much potential and realizing that this is just the beginning for them.
BARNES: I think Jesse is a great example of "be the change you want to see in the world." He's got a laundry list of things he's gonna do.
CAMPBELL: Not only am I involved at the club, but I'm involved in my community. I'm volunteering at my school. I'm currently the student class president. I'm passionate about ending gun violence. I do wanna study political science.
BRADLEY: Jesse is bright, intelligent, smart. And he wants to fight for right, you know? And there's so many things goin' on in the world right now that he could make a change.
CAMPBELL: I would tell other kids that wanna give back to their communities--help other people, get your friends involved, get other children involved, talk to whoever you need to talk to, and get them involved, and get them active. I want them to realize that they have so much potential; they can do whatever they want, just through hard work and dedication.