Winning Futures

business mentors


WARREN, Mich., April 01, 2014 – Winning Futures, a nonprofit organization that inspires and prepares at-risk youth for success, raised over $32,000 for its life skills, mentoring and scholarship programs at an Opening Day Party targeting business professionals on March 31, 2014.

Opening Day Post Collage            The event, sponsored by local businesses Bernard Financial Group, Farm Bureau Insurance, Fifth Third Bank, Maris, Brown and Rossell Insurance Group, MotorCity Office Solutions and O’Keefe, was held at the Gem Theatre where over 400 clients and executive level staff shared food and drinks in celebration of the Detroit Tigers home opener.

Money raised at the event will support the Winning Futures’ mentoring programs in Detroit, Harper Woods, Madison Heights, Pontiac and Warren, enabling high school students to partner with business mentors for the school year. Students will meet with their mentors on a weekly basis and complete fun, structured activities focused on character value development, goal setting, job readiness skills, and strategic five-year planning.

Contributions from the event will also support $25,000 in scholarships for the “RARE Everyday Hero Scholarship Program.” RARE honors real heroes that are changing lives, inspiring others and have made a difference through extraordinary commitment, integrity, selflessness and courage. RARE provides a forum for students to write about Everyday Heroes in their communities to help them see possibilities and make the connection to fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. High school seniors in Michigan are awarded $2,500 scholarships and the heroes they write about are honored annually at Winning Futures’ Night of Heroes event.

“Each year we are more and more amazed at the generosity and commitment of our sponsors and their guests,” said Kristina Marshall, President and CEO of Winning Futures. “Enabling us to provide mentors and scholarships to high school students that show great potential, the money raised at this event is integral to helping our kids reach their goals and continue their educational success. We truly thank each of our sponsors and all attendees for their continued support and charitable spirits. Together, we can make a difference in young people’s lives.”

Winning Futures is an award-winning non-profit organization that empowers youth to succeed through mentoring and strategic planning.  We partner with high schools in metro Detroit to facilitate weekly innovative mentoring sessions in the school where we engage youth through trusting relationships with mentors, energizing experiences, and unforgettable life lessons.  This weekly program is unique in that it has a fun, structured curriculum where mentors teach students though hands-on activities, written exercises, and group discussions.  We focus on character value development, self-exploration, goal setting, job readiness skills, overcoming obstacles, and strategic planning.  Over 95% of students continue their education past high school and we have awarded over $1.9M in scholarships to local youth.  Since 1994, 30,000 students have been impacted by Winning Futures.

Our History 1997

FItzpatrick BagMike Fitzpatrick became a mentor in 1997 and played an instrumental role in launching our mentoring program at Community High School in 1998.   This year Mike will be celebrating his 17th year as a Winning Futures Mentor. Above and beyond his mentoring, Mike also serves numerous volunteer roles within the Winning Futures Program.  He is a financial sponsor, a coach to new mentors, gives annual hands-on career tours of his manufacturing facility for hundreds of students, as well as provides job shadowing opportunities to the alternative high school students to earn credit toward gradation.

Our History 1996

Linda Reinhart and Laurie Tarter

In 1996, the dynamic duo of Linda Reinhart and Laurie Tarter joined the Winning Futures team.  By the end of 1997 the program became a formalized, facilitated mentoring program promising mentors and students a like an unforgettable, energizing, learning experience.

Our History 1995

Marilyn, Dom, Rich

In the fall of 1995, Sam assembled a team of outstanding educators from Warren Mott High School who were passionate about student development and shared Sam’s vision.  With the dedicated assistance of Dominic LaRosa, Marilyn Haley, and Richard King the program took flight.   That year 13 Scholarships were awarded totaling $52,000.  The newly founded program was also recognized by Governor Englers 1995 Distinguished Business-Industry Community Service Award and the Michigan Education Association “Exemplary Selection” Showcasing Public Success.

Our History 1994



The Winning Futures mentoring program was launched at Warren Mott High School in 1994 with 50 marketing students and recognized for its unique scholarship program by the United States Secretary of Education, Richard E. Riley.  That year, a bright eyed, ambition senior by the name of Kristina Sobczynski (now Marshall) received a scholarship and the coveted use of a red corvette for a week.

January Is National Mentoring Month?


January is a very unique month, it signifies the start to a new year, as well as the traditional commitment to a resolution or two, and the remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy. However, what very few people know about January is that it is also National Mentoring Month.

“Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximize their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be.”

Think of where you are today and how you got there. Did you have a mentor or could you have benefitted from a role model dedicated to helping you navigate the pitfalls of growing up.

The highlight of National Mentoring Month is “Thank Your Mentor Day”, this year it was celebrated on January 16th. During this day people are encouraged to contact their mentors directly to express appreciation, become a mentor in their own community, make a financial contribution to a local mentoring program, or post a tribute on

To be a mentor, you don’t need special skills, just an ability to listen and to offer friendship, guidance and encouragement to a young person. And you’ll be amazed by how much you’ll get out of the experience.

Mentoring happens in a number of settings:
• The community.
• Schools.
• The faith-based community.
• Business.
• Through the Internet.

So during this month of new beginnings and resolutions take a moment to thank those who were instrumental in empowering you to be who you are.

We are Honored!

Crain’s Best Managed Nonprofit contest focused on good management practices of nonprofits with budgets of $3 million or less. It was Winning Futures’ mentoring program outcomes, entrepreneurial model, strategic growth process, fiscal responsibility, and innovative approach to fund development that helped secure the title.

This award acknowledges that Winning Futures is committed to making sure their efforts are relevant, efficient, effective, and ethical; all aspects donors should see in the charities they give to.  Over 85% of all funds donated to Winning Futures go directly to their youth programs.  This allows donors to feel confident that their contribution is making a difference.

New Year’s Resolution: Mentor


Tired of the same old New Year’s resolution? How about volunteering as a mentor with Winning Futures?  Unsure if you’re mentor material?  In truth, it’s a lot easier to be a mentor and impact a life than you think!  There’s not a certain mold that mentors need to come from. Underneath that work shirt, business suit, or lab coat, there’s a role model just waiting to jump out! Now’s your chance to be a superhero in the eyes of a student, by steering them clear of the pitfalls potentially awaiting them.

Winning Futures is currently recruiting mentors for 2nd semester program at Madison High (Wednesday’s) and Harper Woods High (Tuesday’s) Schools.  Not sure if you’ll fit in?  Mentoring doesn’t discriminate, people of any ethnic background can make good mentors, and an adult doesn’t need to have a lot of money to make a difference in a young person’s life.  You’re time is more valuable than the amount of zeros in your salary, if you can invest one hour a week for 15 weeks you’ll receive your choice of the mentors six figure mentor bonus package.   “S-M-I-L-E-S”, “R-E-W-A-R-D”, “A-D-O-R-E-D”!

Now’s the time to make that New Years resolution that will not only last, by make a lasting impression.  To take the next step click here for more information, or call 586-698-4418.

Chrysler Foundation Awards $65k

Chrysler Group Expands Commitment to Winning Futures

Grant of $65,000 from The Chrysler Foundation supports scholarship and mentor programs

December 2, 2013 , Warren, Mich. – Last Tuesday (Nov. 26) at a breakfast hosted by Winning Futures, Mark Chernoby, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Vice President – Product Committee Coordinator — Chrysler Group LLC presented Winning Futures with a $65,000 grant from The Chrysler Foundation to support its continuing education scholarships and mentoring programs.

“Helping students develop the skills and self-confidence that they need to succeed is an investment that will pay dividends for a lifetime,” said Chernoby who was one of the featured speakers invited to share their experiences at the breakfast. Three years ago, Chrysler became involved in Winning Futures’ school-based mentoring program and today has 20 employees who are mentoring at the Pontiac Academy for Excellence.

Meanwhile, Jason Stoicevich, Head of FIAT Brand for North America — Chrysler Group LLC added that he and several more FIAT Brand employees have expressed interest in becoming mentors in Warren. “Preparing young people to assume future leadership roles is perhaps our most import job, and the FIAT Brand is looking forward to fulfilling this role,” said Stoicevich.

The breakfast with local business leaders focused on building financial resources for Winning Futures so they can provide mentoring, strategic planning, and scholarship programs for high school students throughout metro Detroit. Students who have participated in the program say that Winning Futures’ mentoring and curriculum have helped them make positive changes in their school and home lives. Asia Nelson, a student in the Winning Futures program in Pontiac, shared how much the program’s study skills and goal setting lessons had helped her to improve her grades to all As and Bs. Comments from other students reflect Nelson’s experience with the program.

“Winning Futures’ goal is to empower today’s youth for a successful future by developing skills which can be used throughout their lives,” said Kristina Marshall, Winning Futures’ President and CEO. “Through the program, students receive a positive adult role model, learn skills to improve their confidence and abilities, and set goals to advance their development. To have Chrysler make such a large investment in our youth speaks volumes not only to our students and mentors, but to the community as a whole. Companies do care and they are getting involved!”

Winning Futures impacts students from the following schools: Cass Technical High School and Jalen Rose Leadership Academy in Detroit; Harper Woods High School; Madison High School in Madison Heights; Cousino, Community and Warren Mott high schools in Warren; and Pontiac Academy for Excellence.

Youth in Winning Futures’ mentoring programs become self-reliant and personally successful through trusting relationships, energizing experiences, and unforgettable life lessons. More students likes Asia will find their path to success because of the program.

About The Chrysler Foundation

The Chrysler Foundation, the charitable arm of Chrysler Group LLC, has established a proud legacy of empowering people and investing in local communities. The Chrysler Foundation focuses its support on four key areas: Education: K-12 and post-secondary education initiatives that encourage the study and pursuit of careers in business, design, science, technology, engineering, mathematics or supply-chain management; Military: support for the nation’s service members and their families in need; Multicultural / Diversity: initiatives that promote inclusion and advancement opportunities for diverse populations; and Youth Development: organizations and programs that provide mentoring and related assistance to aid youth in the transition to adulthood.

Since its inception in 1953, The Chrysler Foundation has awarded more than $500 million in charitable grants.

Mentor + Mentee = Impact!

scottbarhRecognizing others, inspiring them to excellence in school, career, or in life doesn’t take a lot of extra time; it takes compassion, perspective, and vision. Scott Barh, Winning Futures Mentor at Pontiac Academy For Excellence is a perfect example.

When asked about his mentoring experience Scott of Chrysler said; “I have now spent four sessions with my students. All have been very pleasant to work with, but one, in particular, really started blossoming today. In the first few weeks, he spoke so softly I could hardly hear him and often had his elbows on the table and hands up by his mouth when he talked. Today, I could tell he was really starting to buy in to what we’re talking about. He walked in with a fresh haircut (ready for a new job he starts today!), and as we talked I saw more excitement/passion in his eyes than I’ve seen before. His hands came down from his mouth, and he began to speak up. I was quick to affirm him in what I was seeing. Those “little” moments are very rewarding.”

What I like most about Winning Futures:
“The principles we’re teaching them are things just about every one of us professionals can also work on. (I tell my students this, and I can tell they like hearing that I’m learning, too!”

Many employers allow flexibility for mentoring. Can you fit the time in your week to make someone feel special?
If you’re interested in creating special moments through mentoring contact Taquaryl Hunter @ 586-698-4387 or