January’s Mentor Spotlight highlights Nina Belle Mbayu. Nina is an attorney at theĀ United States African Development FoundationĀ (USADF), an independent government agency that provides grants for projects that benefit underserved communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

As a first generation Cameroon-American, who was born in Tokyo, Japan, Nina found being mentored as a 7-year-old in the United States to be an integral part of her growth and understanding of the American experience.

“Having a reading mentor gave me someone to talk to, read with, build my confidence and help me feel more comfortable with getting to know people in a new country.”

Nina’s mentorship experience as a child lead her to inquire about volunteering opportunities in her professional career. A USADF colleague – who also reads with EWDC – referred Nina to the program and she’s been reading ever since.

Her student, Brendolyn, a 2nd grader is new to the program as well, but you wouldn’t think that upon meeting her. The two are a perfect match! “Brendolyn is self aware, self assured and intelligent– she is capable of anything!”

Brendolyn is very creative, aside from reading during Power Lunch, the two create story games and are even working on a kids book with a fairy protagonist. “You want the reading experience to be very engaging, and fun!”

The benefits of the program are mutually beneficial. “For me, as an attorney, I am building on my communications skills when I read with Brendolyn; I am challenged to cut down the lawyer-speak to communicate in ways that are more relatable to her.”

“The Power Lunch program is a great way for adults to help students reach their full potential.”