DENVER — All students, regardless of race, color, or creed, should have the opportunity to succeed. That is the aim of Denver's Bruce Randolph School.
It is also the goal of 7Everyday Hero Martin Pocs.
"We're helping young kids. Most of them are 13, eighth graders," Pocs said.
Pocs is a mentor at Bruce Randolph School.
"I am a head hunter by day and a mentor here on Thursday afternoons," Pocs said.
Pocs gives his time through the Goodwill of Denver's Youth Development Program.
"The whole point of our youth programs is to get these kids on the right track. Let them know there are several different options out there," said Jessica Hudgins-Smith with Goodwill Industries of Denver.
"They just explore life opportunities, and they explore career opportunities. They just try to figure out how to make better lives for themselves," Pocs said.
"They talk a lot about tough topics, personal things that maybe these kids don't feel comfortable talking to their parents about, or their teachers about. But Martin is able to create that safe space for them," Hudgins-Smith added.
Mentoring is not always easy, but it is often rewarding.
"I am totally afraid. It's the hardest non-profit work I have ever done in my entire life," Pocs admitted.
And Pocs would know. He has volunteered a lot over the years, much of it through Goodwill Industries of Denver. He feels strongly about giving back to the community because he has experienced the impact of people helping others.
"My parents were immigrants and people helped them," Pocs said, holding back tears.
And now Pocs himself is making a difference.
"He brings leadership, he brings positivity, he brings presence every week. And that's what being a mentor is all about, being present, supportive, and building confidence. Our students love being around him," said Melissa Boyd, Director of Middle School at Bruce Randolph School.
One of those students is eighth grade student Diego Martinez.
"Martin has helped me by changing my attitude. Before I met Martin in this program I would always have arguments with people. He has helped me think about what I want to do with my future," Martinez said.
Pocs says he tries an important message every Thursday when he meets with the group of boys after school.
"My three keys to a perfect day are: improve yourself mentally, improve yourself physically, and improve the world. Improve yourself mentally can be as simple as reading a book, or a magazine, or the newspaper. Improve yourself physically is as simple as parking farther away, walking a little farther, do a little exercise, do some sit-ups. And improving the world could be opening the door for someone, or it could be picking up trash. If you do those three things everyday you can have the perfect day," Pocs said.
To learn more about the Goodwill Industries of Denver's Youth Development Program visit www.goodwilldenver.org.
Mitch Jelniker anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30 to 7 a.m. He also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on Denver7. Follow Mitch on Facebook and Twitter. Nominate a 7Everyday Hero here.