Winning Futures

goal setting

Why Are Strengths Important?


How many times have you been told you need to turn your weaknesses into strengths?  Traditionally, choosing to focus on improving weaknesses has unfortunately become all too common for high school and college students.  The factors of peer pressure, siblings, parents, and media have shaped students’ future too much.  What if students started focusing on their future based on their passions and strengths rather than outside forces?

By empowering students to focus on their strengths to overcome their weaknesses we would have a breakthrough of untapped potential and developing students abilities.  Strengths and talents are critical to an individual’s success and is not just limited to students.

Identifying strengths will allow students to discover what they are good at and build confidence in that area.  Every student has multiple strengths and will be able to enhance those strengths at a high level if strengths are identified at a young age.  Discovering strengths will allow students to discover what categories of strengths they excel in such as:

-Ability to bring others together
-Influence others
-Get things done
-Visualize the future.
When a student learns that he or she is excels at a certain talent he or she will inherently become more confident, motivated, and willing to think outside the box.

Challenge Conquered!


Did you know “A goal that is not written down is just an idea”? As 2013 came to a close Winning Futures once again demonstrated the importance and value of goal setting. The 20 Year Challenge, the goal was to raise $20K starting in September and ending in December. Showing the commitment Kris Marshall, Winning Futures CEO, and her husband Duane vowed to match the $20K, therefore providing the organization with $40K. Success! I’m excited to say thanks to everyone who believes in Winning Futures we exceeded our goal by raising $20,046 for Winning Futures students in Southeastern Michigan.

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.

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

GM Cares

GM Mentoring at Harper WoodsGeneral Motors recognizes that giving employees an opportunity to mentor through their job provides many valuable benefits.
Benefits to the Employee
• Improves performance
• Increases job satisfaction, attitude and morale
• Encourages teamwork
• Promotes leadership and skill development

Benefits to the Corporation
• Builds brand awareness and affinity
• Strengthens trust and loyalty among consumers
• Enhances corporate image and reputation
• Improves employee retention
• Increases employee productivity and loyalty
• Provides an effective vehicle to reach strategic goals

Only a Few Slots Remain

Visconti with globeWe are excited about building many positive relationships this year through mentoring. Winning Futures students will benefit greatly from working with a diverse group of mentors representing a wide variety of occupations, ages and ethnicities. Volunteers throughout metro Detroit are demonstrating their compassion for youth by taking one hour a week to make a positive impact in students  lives.

If you would like to change the life of a young person it’s not too late. We still have a few sessions open for mentors. Treat yourself to one hour a week of fun and energizing activities with your matched youth.

Cass Tech – 9am – 4 Females

Cass Tech – 12:20M – 1 Female  

Warren Mott – 10:30am -3 Males

Click here to sign up.

Create Good Study Habits

Study Skills flash cardAll students, no matter what age, can benefit from starting the school organized and focused. Here are a few tips you can share with your child or youth in your program.

Good Study Habits
• Find a good, quiet place to study
• Turn off all technology to stay focused
• Make flash cards from your notes (have a question on one side and the answer on the other side)
• Review the flash cards daily
• Rewrite your notes after class
• Work on homework that you find most difficult first
• Always do all of your homework and turn it in, even if you are unsure how to do it.

Creating the habit of great study skills needs to start at the beginning of the school year before a child gets behind.

Click here for a quick activity on Study Skills!

Watch video #7 - Short Academic Goals.


martin-luther-king-jrAugust 28th 2013, marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech. In this monumental address Dr. King spoke of peace, justice and equality.
Every child deserves the opportunity to attain an excellent education and getting an excellent education isn’t just about books and grades; It’s also about building strong character and surrounding youth with positive individuals that will help them reach their full potential. Business professionals who mentor play a critical role in helping students achieve their goals. Mentors expose youth to a variety of careers and provide them with a different perspective. Students who set goals and have a clear strategic plan are better prepared to achieve their dream.
Emily, a high school senior, states; “Winning Futures has encouraged me to strive for greatness and follow my dreams. In the Winning Futures program I was not only told that I can accomplish my dream but I was also given valuable tools to help me along the way. My mentor shared with me her experiences which helped me deal with some of my own personal issues. Winning Futures was the greatest gift I was ever given in high school. I now have the tools and confidence I need to live a happy and successful life.”
Equality in education can only be improved with the help of the community. Mentors can help close the achievement gap by helping students cultivate their emotional skills and develop intellectually.

Back to School-Preparing for Success

BACKTOSCHOOLEvery parent wants their child to be successful in school.  Now is the perfect time to start talking to students about their goals and how to best accomplish them.
Begin talking with students about their dreams or their vision for the future. Knowing what he/she wants to achieve in life, allows teens an opportunity to focus on what they need to improve on when they return to school in the fall.   A teen may not see the need to work toward a goal without understanding the relationship between school and their future dreams.
Next work with your student to set short-term academic goals. These are goals that can be achieved in less than a year.  Short term goals provide action to making your student’s dreams become a reality. There are many areas in which a student can set goals to help achieve academic success.  Start by focusing on areas where the student struggled in the previous school year. Don’t be afraid to ask your student what they’d like to do differently as they approach the new school year compared to last year.  For example, if turning in home work is a struggle for your teen, then setting a homework goal would be a step in ensuring success for the new school year. If you have a teen that is a social butterfly, a time management goal would be a perfect plan to help them stay focused on their academics.  If your teen tends to stress out over test taking, now is a perfect time to talk about what steps can be taken to help ease test taking anxiety. Every short term goal must include at least three action steps that your teen must commit to doing on a daily or weekly basis.
Once you have established specific areas in which your teen will set his/her goals, make sure to write them down together and place where he/she can see on a daily basis, such as a bulletin board, bathroom mirror, or the refrigerator. Staying committed to our goals at any age is difficult, however keeping your student’s goals in sight will help them to stay motivated.  Use images with the written goals, a picture is worth a thousand words!  Be sure to discuss their progress as they work on their goal action plan. Provide continuous encouragement when needed and celebrate each accomplishment.

Help Your Kids Achieve Their Dreams

Goal Setting

Every parent and teacher wants their kids to be successful. By working with them to help them identify their goals and desires, you can help them increase their odds of pursuing and achieving their dreams.

The first step is to set specific goals and write them down. Dreams can help you decide what you want to achieve in life. Dreams help guide you to your goals. Talk to your kids and help them create a clear, detailed vision of what they want their life to be like. Discuss what they want their job to be, where they want to live, who they live with, what they are wearing, their values, the relationships in their life, and anything else they imagine and foresee. Now, have them write or draw about what they see on a piece of paper.

Once they have their vision for the future, set a detailed goal in each area to help them reach their vision. For example, if they want to be a math teacher, set their goal in math.

If they want to stay close to your family, set a goal to have strong relationships with them. If it makes them happy to help others, set a goal to volunteer at a hospital or nursing home.

Creating this road map will increase their chances of achieving their goals and motivate them to be successful in life one step at a time.