Every day, Will Green, executive director of Mentoring Positives Inc., works to spread the love in the community like his mom, Muriel Pipkins, used to do. Everything he does, he does while thinking about his mother who passed away from breast cancer at the very young age of 46.
“My mom was a fighter. She had me at 14 years old. She did everything by herself. I remember her always being there for me,” Green tells Madison365. “She didn’t always do all the right things. She couldn’t be the man that I wanted in my life. But she tried to do everything to do the best she could for us at that time in our life. I really care for that lady. We spent so much time talking together.
“I’ve always been a person who doesn’t want people to hurt. I’ve always been empathetic. It came from an early age. I take on a lot of traits of my mom,” he adds.
The memory of mom – Muriel Pipkins – will be honored at the Mentoring Positives’ 12th Anniversary Fundraiser that will take place Saturday, Nov. 19 at Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery on the UW campus. The event will feature networking, a silent auction, performances, music, and refreshments.
Green founded Mentoring Positives in 2004 to serve the many at-risk youths in the Darbo-Worthington area on Madison’s east side. Mentoring Positives is a referral-based mentoring program that improves youths’ behaviors in the home, school, and community so they will not engage in criminal behaviors that ultimately lead to juvenile detention, jail, or prison and, thus, to break the cycle of recidivism for high-risk youth.
At the event, Crystel Anders, executive director of Community Shares Wisconsin and Dr. John Y. Odom, president of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute, will be honored with Muriel Pipkin Awards, a prestigious honor given to a community member or organization that exhibits compassion, empathy, caring, nurturing, integrity and dedication.
“The people getting these awards really embrace what my mom was all about,” Green says. “They have fought and they continue to fight for equity and justice.”
The keynote speaker will be 14-year-old Ajani Carr of Building Bosses. Carr created Building Bosses to teach the youth the importance of leadership, entrepreneurship, and service.
“This young man is a young entrepreneur who is doing amazing things,” Green says. “We’re looking forward to having him at the event and hearing him speak.”
Mentoring Positives kids will be at the event for community members to talk to and will give a small presentation. Mentoring Positives’ Off The Block Salsa, designed and made by young men at Darbo-Worthington, will be available at the event. The young men grew their own tomatoes and peppers on an acre of community garden and cooked them into big batches of salsa which they have been selling at stores that raise money for the programs of Mentoring Positives.
“It’s really all about this new vision that we’re creating with social entrepreneurship,” Green says. “We’ve created this Off the Block Salsa and that helps support our kids and it’s great salsa for the community. It’s a win-win for everybody. But we think that entrepreneurship is really powerful and we’ve even become members of [co-working space] 100State. Our kids have many different talents so let’s hone in on them early and let’s provide the platform for them to get started on entrepreneurship.”
Off the Block Salsa is available at grocery stores in Madison and will also be available at the event. “We’re working on the pizza now, too, bro,” Green says, referring to Off The Block pizza. “We won’t have any available at the event because we couldn’t make it at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, but we will have pictures for people to see and we will take some orders.”
The 12th annual Mentoring Positives Fundraising event will also feature entertainment from The Wilder Deitz Group and DJ Chill and there will be photography by Hedi LaMarr Rudd Photography and Reflections of Heaven PhotoDesign.
“We still have tickets available. Come on out,” Green says. “Even if you can’t make it out, you can still grab a ticket. It’s just 35 dollars and it goes a long way to helping some young people. It’s a tangible thing we can do in our community to make it better. We appreciate the help.
“For those of you coming out there that night, you will be inspired,” he adds. “You will see that we truly love kids here at Mentoring Positives and we will give them the best care that they could ever get.”
The 12th annual Mentoring Positives Fundraising event will be held at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery on Saturday, Nov. 19, 6-10 p.m. For more information, click here.