P.O.W.E.R. Mentoring Program Hoping to Expand in North Alabama

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - P.O.W.E.R., Placing Opportunities Within Everyone's Reach, is the name of a local mentoring program that pairs Alabama A&M University students with kids in the Sparkman or Seminole Boys and Girls Clubs.

"We want the children to understand that you can be more than what you see on television and you can aspire to do great things," says Alabama A&M professor and P.O.W.E.R. founder Rachel Dunbar.

Dunbar aims to provide opportunities for kids.

"I think a program like this is important because it gives children an opportunity to see things that are outside of their box," explains Dunbar.

Things like the Cherry Blossom Festival in Nashville, TN or a performance of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Atlanta. It's experiences like this that mentor and Alabama A&M student Ronderius Reese says help mentees grow.

"When they come outside the door, they go to school, they come back home and that's their life," says Reese. "It's just something to open their horizons so they know there is more to life."

Fellow mentor Candace Crum got involved to help girls overcome something she endured as a child - bullying.

"It was verbal bullying and it affected me a lot," says Crum. "It definitely molded me into the person I am today and I thought I needed to help someone else."

On the receiving end of that help are young people like Desiree Garner, whose mentor helped her through the first semester at the University of North Alabama in Florence.

"I gained a friendship with my mentor," says Garner. "I gained a lot of knowledge because I was questioning her on everything about college.'

College aspirations, financial literacy and culture and fine arts are some of the focus areas of the P.O.W.E.R. mentoring program, which relies on donations for everything.

Because of that fact, $319 is a welcome addition and a complete surprise.

"This is a blessing," says Dunbar. "Thank you so much!"

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