10 Years, 10 Stories: Being a positive presence
Melvin Hubbard El
“There’s no better feeling than knowing you’ve made a difference in the life of a child.”
Since elementary school, Melvin Hubbard El has known his purpose in life is helping others. As the District Office Chief of Staff for Pennsylvania State Representative Edward C. Gainey, Melvin is serving the community in a variety of ways, but one of his favorites is volunteering in United Way’s Be a Middle School Mentor (BAMSM) program.
When Melvin learned of an opportunity to mentor at Pittsburgh Westinghouse Academy, his former stomping grounds, he knew he had to act. Seven years and seven mentees later, he’s never looked back. “I’ve always had a passion for giving back because of all that has been given to me.I had multiple mentors in my life. They all made critical deposits in my development at the right moment –instilling life lessons of love, guidance and encouragement.”
From Melvin’s experience, mentoring is just as important now as ever. “Students are experiencing serious emotional, mental and social problems that are the result of the dysfunctional and violent nature of our society. As mentors, we can work through the layers of personal issues and provide them with a non-judgmental, positive adult presence.” Whether he’s mentoring in the BAMSM program, coaching a colleague, or talking with a member of the community, Melvin hopes all his mentees take one thing from their time together: nothing’s more important than loving yourself.
United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania is honored to celebrate 10 impactful years of our Be a Middle School Mentor program. You can make a difference for local kids by becoming a mentor today.