Graduation Day!

Part 1 (An inside look at lives transformed
Part 2 (Effective communication can make an immediate difference)
Part 3 (Financial health can build a solid foundation)
Part 4 (Conflict is inevitable in life and at work)

Mentorship is important to the long-term success of Joseph Project graduates

Fourth and final day of The Joseph Project – Graduation Day: Thursday, August 3 (7:45 am-1:30 pm)


Welcome to the fourth and final day of The Joseph Project. It’s graduation day!

Today may sound like all fun and games, but I can assure you that it was far from that, for the most part. There were several familiar faces joining us, and one new face. Paul Chamberlain, Jay Thompson, and Eugene were all in the room, and we were joined by Rev. Shoup.

I was not available for the first portion of the day led by Rev. Shoup. The focus of his discussion was spiritual fitness. Much like St. John’s Ministries, The Joseph Project is rooted in faith. One does not have to actively practice a certain religion or belief, but the principles of faith are seen and heard throughout the week. Rev. Shoup reminds us of that as he discusses living this current life and living an eternal life of faith.


Thompson takes a moment before the mock interviews to talk about the mentoring program he facilitates. Mark and Lucas may be energized and motivated to rejoin the workforce after the great week we’ve had, but who is going to make sure that same energy continues. Who, other than themselves, will keep them accountable and motivated? Fortunately, Thompson, a former attorney and current Joseph Project volunteer has a wonderful foundation for his mentoring program.

Jay speaking with Mark & Lucas about mentorship.

At any given time, there are 8-10 mentors either already providing guidance and support to previous graduates or awaiting to be matched with new graduates. The program has no set goal for the mentors and mentees, other than they should decide on the goals themselves. The goals of the mentorship should be agreed upon and could be short-term, long-term, intermediate, or all three. That piece is completely up to the mentors and mentees. He talked about what goes into a successful mentorship program. Also, Thompson discussed what a successful mentor and mentee bring to one another. Perhaps the most important thing to remember for Mark and Lucas is the four pillars of mentoring: Trust, respect, expectation, and communication. To practice the pillars of mentorship, one should be able to practice the same pillars in the workplace.

Thompson will use the information given by Mark and Lucas, such as their background, employment history, and preferences, and take their character, personality, and presence to match each up with a mentor to guide them, keep them motivated, and support during their journey.

Following the discussion about mentorships are the mock interviews!

Mock interviews

For the remainder of the day, Mark and Lucas will have three mock interviews. In the room to assist in the interviews is a diverse group of individuals with years of experience providing interviews and leading teams.

Mark in a mock interview with Jay and Adolph.

The six mock interviewers split into groups of two, and for the next 2 hours, Mark and Lucas spent 30-45 minutes interviewing with each group. We prompted Mark and Lucas with common interview questions and took note of tone, eye contact, posture, and of course their answers. Scenarios focused on things they learned throughout the week, such as teamwork and conflict resolution in our questions too. We made sure they were not only prepared for the real-life interview but retaining the information and tools offered throughout the week.

Lucas in a mock interview with Rebeca and Nancy.

Following the mock interviews, each group of interviewers talked with Mark and Lucas about their interviews. To say Mark and Lucas excelled would be an understatement. The two of them showed up with their game faces on and were ready to go. Each time they greeted the panelists with a smile, handshake, and good ice-breaking conversation. Throughout the interviews, they provided more than simple answers to the questions asked and created an open dialogue with the panelists to provide more information than what was asked or expected. These two men showed they were more than ready for the next step – real interviews.

But first… Graduation!

Graduation is a time to reflect and celebrate on the participants and the hard work they’ve given all week. Each person goes around the room, giving every presenter, mentor, and guest an opportunity to speak about Mark and Lucas’s performance this week.

We celebrate their commitment, accomplishments, and bright futures. Adolph, Jay, and I all provided comments and encouragement for Mark and Lucas. Eugene is the last person to speak. He does a fantastic job bringing everything together for the final presentation of certificates. A phenomenal way to end a fantastic week for two wonderful and inspiring individuals ready to hit the refresh button on their lives.

I have heard some of what goes into The Joseph Project from Eugune and others involved during my time so far at St. John’s Ministries. I was blown away by the outpouring of support from the facilitators, volunteers, and alumni who want others to be their best selves. Mark and Lucas were fully invested in learning new things and being willing to change their lives for the better. I am proud of them and this program.

Congratulations Mark & Lucas! We all wish you the best of luck moving forward!

Mark, Eugene, and Lucas following graduation.

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