Winning Futures


How To Attract & Retain Good Employees?


The 2014 Millennial Impact Report by Achieve, a consulting firm, surveyed 1,500 employed millennials—people between the ages of 20 and 34. About a third of respondents said that their companies’ volunteer policies affected their decision to apply for a job, 39 percent said that it influenced their decision to interview, and 55 percent said that such policies played into their decision to accept an offer.

Employers in sectors in which competition for qualified candidates is ferocious, such as technology, can differentiate themselves by communicating volunteer and giving opportunities during the recruitment and interview process.

The researchers found that millennial employees respond best when they are given an array of different ways to engage in a cause, from simple social-media activities to paid sabbaticals for volunteer work. Millennials regard donating their skills and time to a cause as equivalent to writing a check.

When it comes to building an office culture of engagement, companywide volunteer days may not be enough. Sixty-two percent of survey respondents said they prefer to do volunteer work with people in their departments, while 39 percent said they prefer to volunteer with people they do not work with daily.

To view the full article please click here: Click

Summer School Program Builds Confidence!

Winning Futures Summer School Program Builds Confidence for Academic Success.


Winning Futures recently implemented its middle school life skills mentoring course at Golightly Education Center in Detroit that focuses on building young people’s self confidence through academic goal setting.  During the summer school program, mentors and students work each week on a Winning Futures principal that provides struggling learners the confidence they need to improve for future academic success.


The summer program at Golightly is rewarding beyond words. To see the enthusiasm the kids put into learning is like no other.  The growth in self-esteem, knowledge,  and the tools the children are learning will be life changing,” commented volunteer mentor Lisa Thomas of Brown & Brown of Detroit.

A recent study by the Harvard Family Research Project showed that positive steps —like going to class, doing homework, arriving ready to learn, and actively participating in class—all lead to better academic performance.   These behaviors are strongly affected    by how young people see themselves; their confidence in their own abilities can  positively or negatively affect their performance in school.

 “Each week mentors work on  goal-setting strategies to influence a stronger sense of self.   When students believe they can achieve, it becomes much easier for them to reach their educational goals.” said, Laurie Tarter, Program Facilitator.

Student Thumbs Up

Winning Futures’ Life Skills topics, such as maintaining a positive attitude, helped young learners understand how their attitude can affect their academic success.  Students also evaluated their strengths which helped them identify their positive qualities and resulted in improved confidence. They also explored their moral and performance values to help them with better decision-making.

Lesley (6)


Lesley Gale described her experience this way, “We have been asked to work with students at Golightly to help build their self esteem. I certainly wish someone would have helped me realize who I was at this age. What an amazing experience for these teenagers. I believe they have received a life time gift and it was our pleasure to help them realize their best self.”



The 18 Soft Skills Necessary For Success

A recent article published by the SEMCOG (Southeast Michigan Council Of Governments) listed 18 soft skills which were considered essential for youth success. These skills are perfectly aligned with the Winning Futures Curriculum.

Per the SEMCOG report, “The Lifelong Soft Skills Framework identifies basic or foundational skills for workplace success.” Soft skills development should be identified as a lifelong effort and a reinforcement of skills between stakeholders designed to increase collaboration and achieve success.

The chart below lists the 18 soft skills, stakeholders, and the necessary training for continued development within our youth.

Soft Skills - 1


Soft Skills - 2

Data courtesy of SEMCOG –; to view the entire report please click here: Lifelong Soft Skills Framework


Alexi Lalas Talks Mentoring With Winning Futures

Check out (and share) our great video of Retired Pro Soccer Player and Sports Analyst Alexi Lalas discussing the importance of mentoring.


He took time to talk with us this year when he was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, and is helping us recruit mentors for our fall programs!

To view the video click here: Alexi Lalas Scores Goals For Winning Futures


“Powerlink Helps Students Attend Camp”


Week-long basketball and mentoring camp features Pistons announcer Greg Kelser, educational content from Winning Futures

DSC_0428DETROIT, June 23, 2014– For the 4th year, Powerlink is sponsoring Greg Kelser’s “Shoot For Your Goals” camp, ensuring that it is free for local middle school students again this summer. Attendees will learn basketball skills as well as life and career skills through a mentoring program from Warren-based Winning Futures. Powerlink President & CEO Link Howard and Winning Futures CEO Kris Marshall made the announcement.DSC_0406“Supporting fun and educational summer activities for students is an easy decision for us,” says Howard. “The majority of our employees live in the City of Detroit and we want to provide as many opportunities as we can for the next generation to have the skills necessary to be leaders and innovators. We know that learning from a basketball legend like Greg Kelser and the impactful programs managed by Winning Futures will make a impact for these kids.”


Shoot For Your Goals will host two camps this summer, the first from June 23-27 at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, the second from August 4-8 at Warren Mott High School. Each camp will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., rotating students between basketball activities and classroom sessions covering topics such as setting goals, learning study skills and building your personal support team.


“Everyone at Winning Futures is proud to again work with Greg Kelser to provide these fantastic summer learning opportunities,” says Winning Futures CEO Kris Marshall. “We’ve seen the success of this combination of basketball skills and life skills and know the significant value of focused mentoring for middle school students.”


Additional 2014 program sponsors include:

Bagger Dave’s

Detroit Pistons

Frito Lay


Lear Corporation

Quicken Loans/Rock Ventures LLC

Skillman Foundation

Walmart Foundation

About Powerlink

Powerlink is an ISO 9001-certified staffing, facilities management and construction company whose dedicated team members elevate industry standards for quality and process to reduce costs, improve efficiency and gain higher customer satisfaction. Powerlink clients include health care leaders such as Henry Ford Health Systems and the Karmanos Cancer Institute, as well as manufacturers such as Steelcase. Headquartered in Warren, Powerlink’s team members are seamlessly integrated into more than 130 customer sites in the Midwest.

 About Winning Futures

Winning Futures is an award winning nonprofit organization that makes a difference in the lives of young people by offering school-based mentoring programs and workshops for middle school and high school students in Southeast Michigan. Its programs focus on the life skills of character value identification, goal setting, career preparation, and strategic planning. Founded in 1994 by entrepreneur Sam Cupp, Winning Futures now partners with organizations throughout the country to implement their life skills workbooks and activities. For more information, visit or call 586-294-8449.






Scholarship Night Blog Collage


WARREN, MI, May 20, 2014 – 23 students from Detroit’s Cass Technical High School, Harper Woods High School, Madison High School, Pontiac Academy for Excellence, and Warren’s Community High School and Warren Mott High School were awarded scholarships totaling $30,000 for continuing education based on essays submitted to and interviews conducted by business and community leaders at the June 9, 2014 Winning Futures Awards celebration.

Also at this event, six special individuals were honored with the Winning Futures Mentor of the Year Award in recognition of their voluntary contributions as mentors for tri-county area students. Marilyn Haley, Richard King, Dominic LaRosa, Judy Locher and Daniel Schafer were also honored as the Founding Educators for Winning Futures. Finally, Elite Success Partners received the Partner of the Year Award to honor their strong program support and assistance in recruiting mentors.

This is the 20th consecutive year that non-profit school-based mentoring program Winning Futures has presented these awards. The annual event brings together over 300 students, educators, mentors and program sponsors. All of these community partners have made it possible for Winning Futures to impact over 30,000 students and award $1.7 million in scholarships since its founding in 1994. 

The Winning Futures Mentor of the Year Award is presented to volunteers from the programs’ multiple mentoring sites to honor their commitment to mentoring and the difference they make in the lives of those they mentor. As mentors, they are helping students set goals, reach their potential, and discover their strengths. They also encourage academic achievement, career aspirations, and positive choices.

The 2014 Winning Futures Mentors of the Year are:

  • Heidi Beechie, Systems & Components Engineer, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles –Pontiac Academy for Excellence
  • Lee Shelby, Facilities Manager, SRG Global- Harper Woods High School
  • Lesley Gale, Associate Department Chair, Davenport University – Madison High School
  • Jeffrey Lehnertz, Vice President, Huttenlocher Group – Warren Mott High School
  • Marcia Beck, Owner, Colorscapes – Cass Technical High School
  • Brendan Brosnan, Sergeant Emergency Manager, City of Warren – Community High School

“These six individuals have made a powerful, positive impact on young people through their role as mentors,” said Ken Elkins, Marketing and Program Director. “We are proud to honor them for their on-going dedication to volunteerism and making a stronger community.”

The Winning Futures Awards are sponsored by The Chrysler Foundation, Hamilton Chevrolet ,Extra Credit Union and Lusk and Albertson. It was held on June 9, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at Emagine Theatre in Royal Oak. Please visit or call 586-294-8449 for more information.

To view our 20th Anniversary Video click here:

Our History – Where Are They Now 1996

kelly counts

Where are they nowKelly Counts 1996 Winning Futures Scholarship recipient and Grand Prize Winner joined the Hamilton Chevrolet team in 1997 and has worked her way of the ladder to success to become Sales Manager and has received seven Sales Leader of the Year Awards over the years.  She is also a proud mom of two adorable little girls!

Help Winning Futures win up to $75,000

You can help Winning Futures win up to $75,000 to support mentor programs and scholarship!


We were just selected to be part of the Art Van grant challenge.  The hook this year is that in order for us to win from $800 to $75,000, we have to raise money in a CrowdRise online giving competition from now until June 23rd.


Money can be donated by individuals and companies (if you or your business want to have your own page, email  Funds raised will sponsor students to be matched with business mentors.  Mentoring takes place at their school on a weekly basis and focuses on job readiness skills and creating a strategic five-year plan.  We impact teens from Detroit, Harper Woods, Warren, Sterling Heights, Madison Heights, and Pontiac.


Winning Futures is a fun, extremely impactful youth mentoring program.  We were Crain’s Best-Managed Nonprofit last year We are fiscally responsible and we produce real results.  Through the program, average students can win scholarships, learn skills that assist them in having a meaningful career, and gives them the confidence that they can achieve higher goals in their lives.  Check out the program at

Will you help us win? To Donate $5 or more click here!

SRG Intern Connection Winner Announced

Student from Paul K. Cousino High School announced winner of the SRG Global and Winning Futures internship competition


Winner to participate in six-week paid internship at SRG Global’s world headquarters in Warren, Mich.


Warren, Mich., May 16 – SRG Global Inc., a leading manufacturer of chrome plated plastic parts for the automotive, commercial truck and consumer goods industries, and Winning Futures, an award-winning non-profit mentoring organization, announced Caroline Dimas as the winner of its student mentoring partnership program, The Intern Connection.

Intern Connection

The announcement was made this morning during a ceremony hosted by SRG Global at its world headquarters in Warren, Mich. SRG Global VP and CFO Gregory Mulawa and Winning Futures President and CEO Kristina Marshall made opening statements. Also in attendance, were several SRG Global and Winning Futures employees, Paul K. Cousino High School students and parents, and local public and school officials, including Senator Steven Bieda (D-MI 9th District) and Warren Consolidated Schools Chief Academic Officer Brian Walmsley.

“As a company, we’ve elected to focus our sponsorship and community resources to organizations in our local communities that provide educational and development opportunities to young people, specifically in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math,” said Mulawa. “The Intern Connection not only exposes students to these disciplines, but gives them the experience needed to be effective at marketing themselves in highly competitive job markets.”

As the award recipient, Dimas will participate in a six-week, paid summer internship where she will receive hands-on experience working in the company’s human resources department.

The Intern Connection introduces high school students to business operations in a real-world setting. The goal of the program is to inspire participants to pursue higher education that will provide a foundation for the next generation of business leaders. The program is in its fifth year. As part of the program, SRG employees donate time and resources through participation in the mentor program, visiting the schools and working one-on-one with the students.

“Exposure to positive role models and to the diversity that exists within an organization gives students an opportunity to see where their skills and interests can contribute, and gets them excited about preparing for a future in the career world,” said SRG Global employee and program mentor Charrae Trocki. “We’re connecting with these bright kids before they reach college age so we can have an impact on their decision to pursue education or training beyond high school.”

Throughout the program, students attend a series of employee-led job coaching sessions and onsite visits to gain exposure to the different business functions within SRG Global. At the program’s conclusion, students write an essay highlighting what they’ve learned, and they can choose to apply for a summer internship.

Those who apply, move on to the next phase of the competition, which includes preparation and submission of a resume and employment application. All who apply are interviewed and a winner is selected. Today’s announcement of the winner of the summer internship is the culmination of this year’s program.

About SRG Global

SRG Global Inc., a Guardian company, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of chrome plated plastic parts for the automotive, commercial truck and household appliance industries with a manufacturing presence in major world markets including North America, Western and Central Europe and China. The company is headquartered near Detroit in Warren, Michigan. Through its Advanced Development Center in Taylor, Michigan, SRG Global works to enhance manufacturing processes and accelerates development and delivery of the next generation of materials and coating technologies. The result is the creation of products that provide not only the decorative attributes eagerly sought by designers, but that are also engineered for greater surface durability, structural integrity and enhanced functionality. For more information, visit

About Winning Futures

Winning Futures is an award winning nonprofit organization that makes a difference in the lives of young people by offering school-based mentoring programs and workshops for middle school and high school students in Southeast Michigan. Its programs focus on the life skills of character value identification, goal setting, career preparation, and strategic planning. Founded in 1994 by entrepreneur Sam Cupp, Winning Futures now partners with organizations throughout the country to implement their life skills workbooks and activities. For more information, visit or call 586-294-8449.


Madison High Career/Culture/Community Day

Madison Career Culture Community


Madison High School in Madison Heights held a Career/Culture/Community day for their students on Friday, May 9th. Partnering with Madison High to make this a great day for the students was the United Way of Southeastern Michigan.

Volunteers from the community discussed their work with the high school students hoping to make an impact on the kids’ future.

There were five sessions on the morning of the 9th, and the students got to choose which presentation they attended each hour. Speakers talked to a group of approx. 20-35 students including a Q&A. Among the things the speakers discussed was the following:

• Provide an in depth understanding to your work
• The path it took to get to where you are today
• Education you received for the position
• Lessons learned and experiences
• Salary expectations
• Demand for the work (industry)
• Skill sets used in the position (industry)

Among the volunteers that presented that day were three Winning Futures mentors: Brendon Brosnan, Emergency Services Manager of the City of Warren; Amy Ostrand, Senior Advisor at Davenport University; and Tony Merlo, owner of Smarter Phones.