MyStand helps youth identify, build, and maintain positive and healthy relationships with others and themselves. Founded in 2013, MyStand was created to provide holistic and culturally relevant mentorship supports that are sensitive to the unique needs of vulnerable youth. MyStand recognizes and focuses its energy on providing the direct benefits of mentorship in helping youth with self-development through assessments, workshops and mentorship. MyStand believes that its impact is enhanced by combining these three elements into mentorship programming. The program focuses on employment/entrepreneurship and educational achievement outcomes. The program includes year-long one-to-one mentorship, which connects one adult mentor with a maximum of 2 youth mentees, who engage in weekly mentorship sessions and participate in larger program and partner events. Mentees also engage in regular workshop sessions.
The idea of MyStand stemmed from the personal experience of its founder, Mustafa El Amin, who experienced a lack of resources growing up. He recognized the impact this gap had on his own and other’s development and saw that youth with positive potential end up in conflict with the law and/or the school system. MyStand noted that a key gap in resources was mentorship or guidance in young people’s homes, schools and communities, in particular mentors who shared life experiences with the participant population. With the support of invested staff and volunteers, and highly respected ambassadors, MyStand offers personalized, demographically geared mentorship, that takes into account the intersectional identities of the young men in the program and impact these identities have on their educational, planning, and career opportunities. Moreover, MyStand focuses on increasing the confidence and self-worth of its participants and encourages them to see available opportunities as opportunities for them.