From a young age, Mani Mesh struggled to find the self confidence and leadership skills he needed to be successful. When he first entered the Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) program at Windover High School, he wanted to switch out of the class due to his fear of public speaking. After giving the program a fair chance, he soon realized that being a part of JMG would change his life. Throughout his time in JMG, and with the help of his Specialist, Kim Bordeau, Mani learned valuable leadership skills which boosted his confidence and excited him about the possibilities for his future.
Upon graduating high school, Mani knew that he wanted to stay connected with JMG in any way that he could. He was amongst the first members to join our Youth Solutions Youth Advisory Council (YAC) and the Alumni Network, which provided him with opportunities to continue developing valuable skills.
“Mani has grown tremendously since I first met him in 2018 when he was one of the most introverted, quiet students I have ever met. Throughout his time in JMG, he developed his leadership and self-confidence skills and even traveled to Lansing to speak with his legislators. Now, he serves as a role model for other youth not only in the Midland area, but throughout the state. I couldn’t be more proud!,” expressed Kim Bordeau, former JMG Specialist and current Senior Manager of Program Success for Youth Solutions.
Most recently, Mani was one of eight youth selected from the state of Michigan to attend the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) National Student Leadership Academy (NSLA) in Washington D.C. in December. Attending the NSLA gave him the opportunity to step out of his comfort zone and experience new things, including flying on an airplane for the first time. “At the NSLA, I was able to connect with new people from all across the United States. I was able to see what’s going on in their programs, share what’s going on in our program and bounce ideas off each other on how to enhance them. We had the chance to work together using team building and leadership activities in the sessions we attended,” expressed Mani.
With all the opportunities available to Mani through Youth Solutions and JMG, he now wants to help other youth reap the same benefits. Mani recently took the initiative to speak to a classroom of youth at Windover High School about his experience in JMG, the YAC and the Alumni Network to encourage other youth to get involved. Emerial Beatty, a youth who attended Mani’s presentation commented, "His presentation was really inspiring. Honestly, it was super cool to see a graduate of the same school I go to succeeding. It gives me motivation and shows that I can do it too."
We couldn’t be more proud of Mani and are excited to see all of the amazing things he will continue to accomplish. Learn more about Mani, here.