Sherée Dunwell, Champion of Mentoring 2013 honoree

The need for a strong community, especially for our youth, is more significant than ever. We are thrilled to share with you our three 2013 Champions of Mentoring - individuals and organizations that are committed to strengthening our communities through fueling the youth mentoring movement. Our Champions have gone above and beyond to support mentoring and advance our cause to bring more caring adults into the lives of young people. We will share their stories over the next several days, and they will be honored at our Champions of Mentoring Breakfast at Fenway Park on May 24.

Sheree2Three-time The Boston Marathon®/Team MMP runner Sherée Dunwell is one of our Champions of Mentoring in 2013, and we couldn't be more pleased to honor her for her invaluable commitment.

A Lynn native,  Sherée found inspiration in Mass Mentoring's mission of fueling the movement to expand quality mentoring for youth. She felt that as a child of a single mother, she would have benefited from having a mentor herself.

"The (first) marathon for me was a personal challenge, and the beginning of a new healthy life for myself," she says. "More importantly, however, I wanted my running to benefit kids in true need...I have always wanted to make it a part of my life's mission to see to it that kids who are at-risk understand that the sky is the limit."

Although she faced some challenges while training for and completing her first marathon in 2011, not only did she not give up, but her perseverance helped her raise more than $8,000 in her first year. Encouraged, she  aimed higher and set ambitious fundraising goals for her ensuing marathons in 2012 and 2013.  Cumulatively, she's raised more than $32,000 in support of quality youth mentoring.

"I've become so unbelievably inspired and moved by this wonderful organization...and the wonderful mentors and mentees who've shared their stories," she says.

Sherée's generosity and desire to help youth succeed is evident beyond her marathon participation. While in college, she taught voice and dance lessons to underprivileged kids. Now, she's a volunteer at the RFK Children's Action Corps.

We know this is not the last we'll see of Sherée. Her belief in the power of quality youth mentoring runs deep, and not only are we thankful to count her as a friend of mentoring, but we're proud to honor her as one of our 2013 Champions of Mentoring.

Read more about Sherée's marathon experiences at her blog and check out our previous post about Sherée.