When Kadeem told his parents that he wanted to go into law enforcement, they didn’t know much about the field, but nevertheless got him talking to the right people to help him take the right steps towards becoming a cop.
“I don’t want to sound corny, but my parents are pretty much my role models,” Kadeem said.
Another role model for Kadeem is a retired police officer, who has helped Kadeem grow as a person and develop an identity focused on helping people, especially kids.
“He said I can be that change,” Kadeem said.
Kadeem’s Peer Project mentee was his starting point to engage and help his community. He is doing what he saw his parents do: getting his mentee talking to the right people to help him pursue his interests.
At first, Kadeem wasn’t too sure he was making much of a difference in the life of his mentee, until his mentee’s mom thanked him for helping to change her son. Kadeem, at first taken aback, said “It wasn’t me, it’s you” because he felt she was the one raising him and Kadeem hadn’t really noticed a significant change in his mentee.
“No, ever since you came into his life, you have been a positive impact,” she said.
This further motivated Kadeem to keep being a positive role model. He has now taken on mentoring kids at a basketball program.
Kadeem’s Confidence Grows
Five years ago, Kadeem says he didn’t have the confidence to help others.
“I didn’t believe I could do what I am doing now,” Kadeem said. “I always got nervous and was scared to talk to other people.”
Over time Kadeem built up his confidence, recognizing it is something he had to work on, especially when taking on the role of mentor.
“I didn’t want him [his mentee] to think of me as someone who made him worse,” Kadeem said. “You have to carry yourself a different now that you know someone is watching you.”
Kadeem is a big supporter of his mentee’s desire to learn martial arts and test his skills in the ring.
“I go to his fights, I help support him, and I go to the gym with him to help him train,” Kadeem said.
Kadeem says his mentee has been a “positive impact” on his own life and even “a mentor” as well.
“A lot of my friends don’t volunteer, but when I tell them about all the fun things we have done, I try to convince them to get started with this program,” Kadeem said.