“Mentoring has to be a commitment, especially for UCAN’s clients who have been neglected. They need someone who will believe in them, respect them and someone they can trust. They want people who are there for them to give the attention they deserve,” explained Larry Hayes, UCAN Life Trustee.
Larry exudes an unmistakable inner joy. A long time UCAN board member, he has spent many years giving back to causes that are close to his heart. “I particularly like working as a mentor. Being able to gain the trust and respect of someone and see their potential turn and blossom and grow is fulfilling,” stated Larry.
Introduced to UCAN in 1992 through his business attorney George Drost, Larry has served on UCAN’s Resource Development Committee and Board Development Committee, and was a member of the Governing Board from 1999 until becoming a Life Trustee earlier this year. Larry has been dedicated to helping expand UCAN’s reach through the services offered and expanding
capacity to gain funding from more diversified sources.
His passion for helping young people is evident in his long-time mentorship of two of UCAN’s youth. Larry began mentoring at UCAN in 2002 when he met a young man named Erwin. Throughout the years he supported Erwin during what he described as “tough times.” Now age 25, Erwin resides in Southern Illinois where he works at a manufacturing plant managing employees on his shift. Although they are not able to have face-to- face communication, Larry says the two stay in contact through messaging on Facebook. “He has come a long way,” Larry proudly reflected.
Larry’s relationship with his other mentee, Rheba, began seven years ago. “I help her establish personal goals. We talk about how things are progressing with her.” Rheba’s growth has led to employment at UCAN where she currently works as a youth development coach.
Said Rheba, “He has been a great influence on my life and has guided me through many things. His leadership has given me confidence and helped me to understand who I am and where I’m going. Larry is the best mentor and friend I have ever had and I enjoy the time we spend making sure my goals are accomplished.”
Larry concluded, “Everyone has gifts. Help them to not feel trapped in their situation. There is great satisfaction in seeing people succeed despite the crisis they have faced.”
For information on how you can impact young lives, please visit www.ucanchicago.org/get-involved/volunteer/.