It is our pleasure and honor to recognize our first HOOD Mentoree Spotlight - Levi Gaskins
Over the past four years I have had the opportunity to get to know this young man very well. Over that course of time, I have witnessed the continued positive development of an already mature young man.
To give this Mentoree Spotlight the attention he deserves, we should start at the beginning. He was born September 2nd, 2000 in Cincinnati, Ohio. By the time he was 3 months old he had been removed from his biological family and placed in foster care where he remained for approximately 20 months. From there he was placed with a paternal aunt, Elaine Herron, who became his legal guardian and who has raised him as her own.
As he has developed and matured, Levi has had to deal with much adversity. Some may ask why this is important as we all deal with some type of adversity.
The Home of Opportunities and Dreams is excited about our first group of youth volunteers from Rockcastle County coming on board. We are looking forward to working with the youth in Rockcastle County more and doing what we can to bring more resources and services to the community. The youth from Rockcastle County Middle and High School volunteered to on November 25th, December 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The community service they performed has allowed us to make a contribution back to the community. We will be sponsoring a sibling group for Christmas in the honor of the youth volunteers from the county.
And while most children will deal with adversity in one form or another, Levi’s case is different, I think, because of his response to it.
Two examples of the adversity Levi faced are:
Feelings of abandonment and being unwanted: Levi learned early on that his maternal family did not want him because he was biracial. And while his white sibling also went to foster care, his sibling spent less time there because he was accepted by the maternal family. No one from Levi’s maternal side reached out to him until he was in his teen years. And they did so only after reading a positive post on Facebook.
Death: Early in his sophomore year, at age 15, Levi was confronted with the news that his father, Maurice Mundy, had died. A victim of a violent crime.
Of course, there are other examples, but the point is, Levi not only overcame these challenges he excelled. Levi has told me that he was able to overcome negative events partly due to his positive formal and informal support system.
The Students at Madison Central HS pictured above made the trip to Brodhead, Ky to help install the vinyl siding on the home that their community services has helped build. The Madison County HOOD Student Group was featured in an article in the Richmond, Register, you can click on the link below to read a copy of the article.
I would be remiss not to mention the positive influences in his life and development. In the beginning of his life, his foster parents, Chuck and Julie Beidelschies were the ones responsible for loving and nurturing him, both as an infant and a toddler. Not only did that start him off well, they remained a constant and positive influence in his life, even today. Levi’s paternal aunt, “Aunt Elaine”, joined the team and kept that love and positive influence going. His older cousin, Dr. Jeffrey Herron, was raised as his big brother. Also joining “Team Levi” were other adult role models. These include Keith Slaughter from Big Brother Big Sisters of America who started with Levi in the 3rd grade. Levi also gives credit to community Role models Chester Rose and Coach Teddy Taylor who were constant, positive influences. Involvement in organizations such as Black Achievers (6 years), and The Home of Opportunities and Dreams, The Hood, (4 years) continued to round out his positive structure. Within The Hood’s organization Levi served as an officer of the school’s mentoring program for 2 years and has volunteered between 450 and 500 community service hours. He also was involved with STAND for four years.
Finally, Levi was his Senior Class 2018 Vice President, graduating with distinction. He is also a Woodford R. Porter Scholarship Recipient, given only to those African-American students who demonstrate strong leadership and extracurricular involvement, while also meeting strict academic requirements. As a result, Levi is now attending the University of Louisville.
Please join me in SALUTING LEVI GASKINS AS THE HOOD’S FIRST MENTOREE SPOTLIGHT!
Community Service through Volunteerism
We want to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers who willingly gave their time and energy to help us successfully complete our 4th football season as a Non Profit Organization with Aramark & The University of Kentucky Dining Services. This season our youth volunteers from Madison Central were joined by students from Tates Creek High School in Lexington, KY and Scott County, in Georgetown, KY. This year we were also assisted by volunteers from Lucky's Grocery and Kentucky Farm Bureau.
Volunteerism is and will remain the food and nutrients needed for this grassroots organization to continue to grow and give back to the communities served and the disadvantaged families and at risk youth of Kentucky.
Ways to get involved
If you are interested in getting involved or becoming a volunteer please contact us via the contact us page. We will also be posting other ways to you can assist us in accomplishing our mission. Please check back periodically for those opportunities.