Letter from General Colin Powell to a CEO starting an inner-city-youth program.
The following note was received by Harry Seifert, an Inc. 500 CEO, in response to a letter he had written asking for advice about a program he was launching for at-risk young people from the inner city:
* * *
Mr. Harry P. Seifert
Winter Gardens Salad Co.
P.O. Box 339
New Oxford, PA 17350
* * *
Dear Mr. Seifert:
Thank you for your letter and your request for my thoughts on how to gain the trust of inner-city youth.
Although I am not sure I have any magical advice for you, I can tell you from experience that the Armed Forces of the United States have found great success with training and developing young people, volunteers all. Obviously, we have to start with a dosage of discipline, but beyond that we provide them challenging goals. And, when they succeed, we give them various forms of recognition and reward. Above all, we let them know we care about them -- I call it love, pure and simple.
This is not a recipe; it's just one approach, but one I have found to be successful. You may take it for what it's worth. Good luck with your Mentor Program.