September 1, 2020 | Comments Off on Finding Purpose In Our Youth
Sheretta Mitchell inspires others to be who she needed as a teen.
At age 13, Sheretta Mitchell found herself learning more about the world and being more independent than most teens her age. After years of living abroad and across the country, her parents, unfortunately, fell into bad habits and drug addiction which left Sheretta to take charge of her future and find her own path.
“Everything I did was to get into college. It was my escape.”
For Sheretta, the struggle of her home life was a motivator for her to succeed. Yet she recognized the challenges she faced oftentimes can be a catalyst for others to engage in unhealthy behaviors including drug use and gang participation. This was part of the reason she dedicated time in school to working with at-risk populations in order to help other youths find their own motivators to succeed. Over the past 14 years, Mitchell has been mentoring youth to beat the odds stacked against them.
“Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
The purpose of Mitchell’s career has always been to help youth. Yet she attributes much of her inspiration to the kids themselves. Mitchell has learned they don’t care how much education you have or the theory behind what you are telling them. They focus on whether you are sincere about seeing them succeed. To this day, Mitchell is still in touch with one of her first clients from her time working as a part of the Transitional Living Program at Youth Focus.
Over the years, Mitchell feels she can relate to many of the clients in our substance use programs and she has been able to use that to build trust and to show youth how important the decisions they make today are on impacting their own lives and others. While the staff has visions and goals for the program and each teen in it, they really lend most of what they do to the teens. Using outings and character-building activities as key to much of the work they do, they also let the goals and interests of the kids guide programming.
“Building character and building confidence are vital to our youth feeling empowered to overcome their challenges and addiction in the real world. Letting them know we trust them and are interested in their goals helps them with that.”
Dubbed with the nickname “Mama Sheretta,” her career has become more about the kids than any title. She has gone above and beyond every role to empower the youth in her programs.
“Every day I wake up it is my job to help the next person and give back because of the experiences and blessings I have been fortunate to have in my own life.”
To connect with Sheretta.
Sheretta Mitchell, is the Director of Substance Use programs at Alexander Youth Network. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and a Master’s degree at North Carolina A &T State University. In her spare time, she is a motivational speaker for women. As a self-labeled introvert, she doesn’t let that stop her from sharing her big heart with others.