UIX: Laura Ward and Affinity Mentoring advocate more than just memorization for students

Mentors are superheroes.

They fill the role of teachers, cultural ambassadors, guiding lights, and the most faithful of friends. Mentors are responsible for everything from helping a student memorize their spelling words and math facts, to practicing meeting and greeting people politely, talking about their emotions and so much more.

"It could be simply providing a safe space to talk about what's going on inside the home or the neighborhood," says Laura Ward, director of Affinity Mentoring. Her nonprofit provides mentors for children at Grand Rapids Public Schools' Burton Elementary and Middle Schools, as well as the Southwest Community Campus.