James has spent over 70 hours volunteering with the Friends of the Children–Seattle chapter following graduation. We're deeply inspired by his story.
James Hamilton, now 20 years old, joined the Friends of the Children
program in Seattle, Wash., at age 5. A shy child with great
potential, James was paired with Upendo Jefferson. Upendo helped James
become more extroverted and open. “I did view Upendo as a family
member,” said James when asked to reflect on his relationship with his
mentor. Upendo helped connect James with resources and opportunities and
encouraged James to work hard and graduate from high school. “They gave
me lots of opportunities and lots of connections. I don’t think I would
have or been connected to situations in life or internship
opportunities. They are there for you, whatever resources you need,”
said James. Upendo was James’ Friend for ten years, before retiring and
passing away shortly after.
Friends of the Children commit for the long-term and connected James
with a new mentor – Marcel Hauser. Marcel supported James through his
final years of high school and is still a resource for him as he is
enrolled in college. Since graduating from high school, James has
volunteered over 70 hours with the Friends–Seattle chapter. He is also
entering his third year of college, studying human development at
Washington State University. He hopes that someday he will have a job
similar to what a Friend does – help people reach their full potential.