Meet one of the Youth Mentoring Collaborative's Consultants, Dr. Harvey Hinton II. Follow along with this interview between Harvey and Hannah McKinney, Manager of Communications & Storytelling.
Q. How did you get introduced to the Youth Mentoring Collaborative (YMC)? (HM)
A. "I’ve had a relationship with Atrayus going back to 2009/2010. For me, it was some of the other ventures that he was involved with. I knew that he was at MENTOR NC for a moment. But I was downtown Durham, and I popped into Atrayus! I’m in a situation in my life now where I have some time. I’m always trying to support the community. Atrayus and I have done lots of things together in the past. I bumped into him post-pandemic, and by that, I mean considering people have been isolated for the last two years, I just happened to bump into Atrayus downtown and picked up from there." (HH)
Q. What is your mentor story? (HM)
A. "I’ve really been fortunate and blessed to have been mentored by numerous people. These were people, who I think, were doing things that I wanted to do in life. I kinda sought the how-to, and they provided me with guidance. Too many people to name. It made me understand very early the importance of sharing, particularly when it comes to knowledge. Giving knowledge, understanding that knowledge is not just for one person to hold. The other part is about people believing in the goodness of others and that they can see potential in someone else. I like to think that that’s what mentoring is about: sharing knowledge and seeing the potential in someone. Being the resource to help get someone to where they need to be. Atrayus and I talked about that numerous times. What happens is we have systemic barriers that have been present for a very long time. For some people, the potential that they have they don’t even know it’s there. Some people are fortunate enough to have dreams and desires, and they can set goals, because for whatever reason they were raised in environments that allowed that to happen. Whereas other people didn’t have that. So they may not even know what’s inside of them. A good mentor has to be patient. The person who knows what’s inside of them, the person who asks the question, those are people you have good relationships with. But for a person whose upbringing hasn’t allowed them to understand what’s in them needs a lot of grace and time. They still are contributing even though they don’t know what it is they can do. It takes a person who can listen and learn.
It’s an awesome position that YMC is taking, as opposed to trying to be the mentoring model that suggests you gonna pair up a kid with a mentor that’s gonna be the end all be all. I don’t think that’s ever what a kid wants. It’s unfortunate that we’ve spent so much time on models that don’t work. I like to think that from a socially constructive standpoint, people know what they want. What some young people don’t have is a selection of people to pick from. That’s why having mentors show up is important because a young person gets something to pick. The notion that “just because I’ve shown up, I’m gonna be the best match, the best fit” is not always the case. We have to be very careful with how we think about mentoring from a match perspective. We have to think of it from a macro perspective - like what’s available to a person.
Q. Which of YMC's values do you feel most personally aligned with? (HM)
A. "At this stage in my life, I have to go with joy. My mother used to always say to me, “don’t let people steal your joy.” For a long time, I thought it was important for me to be serious. I did certain things a certain kind of way so that people would take me seriously. We learn in life that that may not be the case. But your joy is a health benefit. When you suppress that, you’re not healthy. If you’re not healthy, you can’t help other people the way you think you can or the way you should. We work hard, we sacrifice because we want to be somebody. It’s easy to forget what joy is supposed to mean. Why you’re trying to be responsible, why you’re trying to over-achieve, be ambitious, why you want to do all these things that may be disappointing and very cut-throat-y, and suppression of your true feelings because you think you can get ahead. Those activities can rob you of your joy." (HH)
Q. What are you excited about, regarding YMC or the mentoring movement? (HM)
A. "I think it’s dope to be part of the future. It’s as simple as that. When you’re dealing with young people, you’re jumping into the future. You’re gonna position yourself to where you’re gonna be remembered but also to learn what may be to come. It’s the ultimate learning experience. You learn about what people are doing in the community, and what young people are experiencing. It’s just futuristic, forward-thinking." (HH)
Q. What is your area of expertise as a Consultant? (HM)
A. "Collaboration and strategic thinking. Helping people cut through the muck and identify what it is they want and a pathway to getting it." (HH)
Q. Share a fun fact about yourself! (HM)
A. "Through the pandemic, I started cycling. I really enjoy getting on my bike. I would love to ride every day. I think we need more bike lanes - I’m an advocate of bike lanes. I’m looking for opportunities to help people see how bike lanes can help meet a lot of the community’s needs. I would love to ride my bike across the state of NC in a bike lane - in a very safe way. I love riding knowing that there aren’t cars coming at me." (HH)
Q. Anything else to add? (HM)
A. "I’ve done a lot. Community center work, church work, grad student work, higher ed, after-school programs, substitute teaching, private schools, charter schools community colleges. I’ve done it all. The last 20 years have been looking for ways to serve the community, and I’m not finished yet. Good opportunity to share experiences that I’ve had with other people who want to make an impact in their community. I’m excited about making the community better and being a resource for those who know what they want. That’s what makes this special. This place, people come to you - it’s nice to feel needed." (HH)
This concludes the interview. To learn more about Harvey and the rest of the team, visit Our Team.