Meet the Team: Kenny Bond

Meet the Youth Mentoring Collaborative's Board Treasurer and long time friend, Kenny Bond. Follow along with this interview between Kenny and Hannah McKinney, Manager of Communications & Storytelling.


The Interview


Q. How did you first hear about YMC? (HM)

A. "I really started when it was 'Movement of Youth.' I always wanted to work with a group that mentored the next generation. My wife had a colleague whose son had gone to Movement of Youth; she opened the door and introduced me to Atrayus, and the rest became history. That was 2012 when I first met Atrayus. We used to attend Saturday academies, and I got a chance to see the young mentees and the work that we were trying to do with them. I stayed on as a board member through transitions. Rather than transition off, I stayed because we needed the support." (KB)


Q. What is your personal mentor story? (HM)

A. "Growing up the oldest of fifteen, I was always responsible for children. I was the oldest grandchild and the oldest sibling. I didn’t have an older cousin, I didn’t have an older brother, I didn’t have an older sister. I had aunts that were a few years older than me, but they were so busy with their lives - they could not mentor me. The first real mentor I had would probably be my mother. My father was busy trying to make a living, trying to care for us. My mom was the mentor. She taught me right from wrong, and what direction to go in. Some of the things I wanted to do I had to do on my own by putting myself in the right place. There weren’t a lot of resources when I was growing up, so I had to figure things out on my own. I also was growing up during the period of integration; from seventh grade on, schools were integrated. I had to learn the hard way. I would talk to my mother about some of the difficulties I was up against as a child. I know what bullying is like. When someone bullies you - I went through that, which was ugly. Because I come from a line of somewhat fair-complected people, I had abuse from that. I didn’t have a mentor except for my mother. My mother schooled me on how to combat some of that crap. In high school, there were some business school teachers that I was very fond of, and they mentored me in getting jobs, and how to go to college, you know. Once I got myself on track, I moved to Washington and lived with my aunt while I went to George Washington University. My aunts mentored me for a while - they were older black women that didn’t have any children and wanted to make sure I stayed on the right track - then came the workplace. So, I had a number of people contribute to my drive to give back; there’s so much stuff that went into it." (KB)


Q. Why is mentoring important to you? (HM)

A. "Because I could have ended up as a lost child. And I use that phrase because looking back on my life, if I didn’t have the kind of mother that I had, and the father, I could have gone in directions that I don’t even want to talk about. I hurt for children, whether they’re in my family, or I don’t know them by name, that don't have the direction that I had, and people to tell you that you can grow. Don’t use mental blocks for not getting where you want to go - the sky is the limit. I believed that for most of my life. Tell me I can’t do something, and I’ll do it. Don’t tell me I can’t do something - I will attempt to do it as a challenge because you told me I couldn’t do it. I encourage my nieces and nephews - when I see them, I mentor them. They tell me how much value I have as far as what I’ve told them about life and how to get where you want to go and how to fix all kinds of problems. I feel good that I could save me. A lot of it had to be innate. I’m not gonna make excuses for me not to get where I want to go. That’s why you need mentors who are gonna say, step out and do this, step out and do that. My boss was a mentor for me on and off for thirty-seven years - he was a good mentor. I didn’t know he was mentoring me. He would give me challenges. I don’t see a lot of that today." (KB)


Q. Which of YMC's values do you feel personally most aligned with? (HM)

A. "Relationships. I kind of stole that idea from Atrayus. He was always into building relationships, and I was like HEY - I’ve been doing that all my life! I’m easy to talk to, and there’s not a stranger I wouldn’t talk to unless I was afraid, so I’ve always been into building relationships. I feel privileged that I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many people all over the world and make relationships with them. I’ve met scientists, people in sports, whatever, by being in the right place at the right time. I’ve met very interesting people on the board since I’ve been involved. Relationships are a way of sharing a common goal." (KB)


Q. What are you most excited about in the future of the Youth Mentoring Collaborative? (HM)

A. "I want to see it last. I want to see it continue. Because in these times that we are living, children, mentees, need us so badly. They need direction. I feel some of the parents don’t have the skill set to help those children. I was never a parent biologically, but I had the role of parent where I was responsible for children. I had to take care of them when I didn’t feel like it, or when I was sick. I see parents not doing that today and it disturbs me." (KB)


Q. What is your strength as Board Treasurer? (HM)

A. "I’m not very good at fundraising; I have a hard time asking people for money. But, I’ll give money! I would donate my heart! I have done that for years, with Movement of Youth, MENTOR NC, and now with YMC. I give because I have a passion for these young kids who a lot of time don’t have the direction that they need. I will give my money when I can and do the kinds of things I can to support the team." (KB)


Q. What is a fun fact about you? (HM)

A. "I love me! You gotta truly love yourself before you can help anyone." (KB)


Q. Anything else you want to share that we haven't covered? (HM)

A. "I know that the young mentees are our future. These are the children that will become adults who will provide services, and work with different organizations, and they need our support. I feel that the world is losing the notion of being respectful of where people are in their lives." (KB)


This concludes the interview. To learn more about Kenny Bond and the rest of the team, visit Our Team.