Second Annual Capital City Mentoring Challenge


The Office of City of Tallahassee Mayor, Andrew Gillum hosted the second annual Capital City Mentoring Challenge at the Walker Ford Community Center on Tuesday, Jan. 31. The event is only one part of Mayor Gillum’s 1,000 Mentors Initiative, which recruits 1,000 adults from across Tallahassee to mentor a child for a year.

The event served to make the community of adults more aware of different mentoring programs and how beneficial it would be to spend at least one hour per week with a child. Community Relations Coordinator, Jamie Van Pelt, explained that the initiative has been continuous since its beginning in 2014.

“This has been an ongoing initiative, so tonight we will have roughly 100-150 people coming out to get more information about not only the initiative, but about our partner organizations as well,” said Van Pelt. “We rely heavily on social media to recruit partners… once we lean on those partners to help us identify the youth that are in need, our job is to recruit the adults.”

Some of the partners attended the event and set up booths to talk more directly with interested adults. Those partners included Coca-Cola, Ernie Sims Big Hits Foundation, United Way Reading Pals, Big Brothers Big Sisters and more.

Willie L. Williams, senior program associate and Florida A&M University alumnus, served as the host for the event and explained the importance of awarding their partners.

“We started the Mentoring Challenge awards event, we wanted to bring and draw attention to our mentoring partners who are out there in the community to get them acknowledged and recognized. Later on, we recognize and acknowledge the mentors within those individual organizations that are going above and beyond when it comes to mentoring,” said Williams.

Dr. Genae Crump, director of volunteer program services, briefly explained the process of becoming a mentor through Leon County Schools.

“Pretty much any person who is willing to give up his or her time, we ask for at least one hour out of each week to work with one individual student. You do have to go through a mandatory training but it is not even an hour long,” said Crump. “Of course we want to make sure our students are safe so we have to take you through a criminal background.”

Many of the adults that attended the event received a newsletter in an email, social media, or word-of-mouth. An email from the mayor’s office sparked the interest of Tyrone Scorsone, a Tallahassee resident.

“I run a business here in Tallahassee… but as busy as I am, I think it’s well worth the time to spend an hour a week in a mentor/mentee relationship.”

College students around Tallahassee are encouraged to become mentors as well.

To find out more about how to become a mentor, please visit