photo by sarah morreim
On April 27, Bolder Options hosted its annual gala at the Aria Event Center in Minneapolis. The event raised funds to support the youth development group’s mentoring program in the Twin Cities and Rochester for kids at risk of dropping out of school or taking up delinquent behaviors.
Martell Cole: Growing up, my mentor showed me how I could do so much with a great education. Bolder Options set a standard, and I wanted to meet that standard. I’m finishing my degree in child development so I can work with kids. Someday I hope to be a mentor with the program.
Maggie Romens: Deja and I have done some 5Ks together and a spin class. Those activities enhance our relationship because we both push each other. DEJA SPENCER:(2) At my first 5K, I wanted to stop many times but she kept pushing me.
Jennifer Ordoñez: I was assigned to Bolder Options because I was having a hard time in school. My favorite memory is when we went rock climbing. I’m really scared of heights. Caitlin told me I could do it and to keep going.
Caitlin Ries: I was looking for a place to volunteer, and I got lucky because Jennifer is great. I never thought I’d be friends with a teenager. The kind of conversations we have are far more intellectual than I thought I’d have with someone who is 17 years old. I’m learning a lot from her.
Kyle Feldman: It took me five years to decide that I was ready to make a one-year commitment, because that sounded scary. Now it’s not a big deal. There’s a shortage of male mentors. This is something I could do to get out of my regular routine and social circle.
Brianna Berg: Being a mentor seemed like a weighty responsibility because you’re impacting the life of a young person. I wasn’t all that confident in my ability to do that. Once I met Aspen, I knew I’d made the right decision. She is super outgoing and adventurous and is willing to try anything.
As told to Nancy Rosenbaum. Interviews have been condensed and edited.