When Jason Reid was a freshman at Ardrey Kell High in Charlotte, North Carolina, he wanted to fit in with the other kids in his school. He tried to wear the latest fashion and become the best athlete, but Jason learned that he didn’t fit into that mold. His confidence began to shake and his grades started to slip. He was focused on the social side of school instead of getting his education. “I didn’t know what a GPA was,” he admitted.
During Jason’s sophomore year, his brother’s tutor saw his grades and noticed that he was making low marks in courses that should have been the easiest, giving her the thought that he wasn’t having trouble, but instead just wasn’t focused. “She asked me why I was slipping,” Jason said. “She told me I had something to offer. When I walked out of her office, I was in tears—she had impacted me that much.”That was the turning point for Jason. Since then, he began to make changes and is now making excellent grades.
The entire experience inspired the young student to start a program called Project Elevate. The mentoring program works to help minority students who show the ability to make a difference in their community, find their true potential. He wants to helps kids have a positive experience like his before they leave high school. Jason and his team of mentors meet with parents while the kids are still in middle school to help them make an easier transition into high school. “I want the students to form close relationships with the mentors and understand why academics are so rigorous,” said Jason. “We want to make them enlightened on topics.”
Because of his successful program, Jason was honored with the GoodWorks Youth Award for Diversity, which honored six Mecklenburg County students. “I didn’t expect to get any awards,” said Jason. “At the end of the day, it was about sharing my message with other students.”