Page 1



Second Edition




TABLE OF CONTENTS Letter from Kimberly Coming Full Circle Scholar Alum: A New Chapter The Story of Tyus Wilkerson

Why I Chose to Become A Mentor From the perspective of 6 new Starfish Mentors

Reflecting on 2019 The Starfish Match Specialist offer their perspective on the impact of Scholar programming

Doubling the Impact Our Goal to Serve More Marion County Teens

Connecting with Starfish 2019-2020 Event Calendar

Donald Agin, Jr. Aylin Bartlett Jane Beaman Karen Daugherty Mike Feeney Craig Fortner Tom Funk Steve Gillman Lori Greene Megan Haymaker Eric Johnson Thomas Lazard Patrick Lenihan Tom Malasto Mike McCann Angela Michael Gisela Miller Ryan Miller Dan Nierste William E. Padgett Tonya Lengar Sanders Teresa Shaffer David E. Van Reken, M.D. Vincent Viveros Emily A. Wilson Kimberly Bostic**


Girt Enterprises, LLC

For additional info contact Jennifer McCloud at




BY FALL 2022! KIMBERLY BOSTIC President & CEO Dear Friend of Starfish, I am honored to have been selected to lead Starfish Initiative as the next President and CEO. Starfish Initiative has a long-standing reputation of helping to make a difference in the lives of deserving students throughout Marion County. With the support of our wonderful staff, board of directors, corporate allies, college partners and hundreds of volunteer mentors, we have been able to continue to help deserving students of promise overcome barriers of poverty and develop cultural capacity and leadership skills that prepare them to graduate from high school and college. Under the amazing leadership and progress made by my predecessor Gisele Garraway, Starfish Initiative, successfully achieved two consecutive years of 100% graduation rate for all students that completed the four-year Starfish Mentor program, a 97% or higher college matriculation rate and a median GPA of 3.39.

alums, mentors, programs and events that helped lead to this success. It is my goal that we will continue to build upon that success to achieve our goal of doubling the number of students we serve by Fall 2022. “Every great achiever is inspired by a great mentor.” – Lailah Gifty Akita With your help, we are able to help our mentors come alongside parents, educators, and the collective community to form the village needed to help ensure that our deserving students overcome their barriers today, achieve their goals and go on to become the great leaders of tomorrow. I hope you enjoy the stories and highlights of success that are a demonstration of the impact of your support. Remember, each of us can change the world – one starfish relationship at a time. All the best,

In this 2nd edition of Asteroidea we will share stories of Starfish Scholars, << 3 >>

Coming Full Circle Scholar Alum: A New Chapter An Interview with Tyus Wilkerson

University of Southern Indiana, Class of 2019, Bachelor of Science Public Relations and Advertising. Tyus is one of the youngest District Managers for Speedway. He enjoys spending time with his family and is committed to giving back.


this promising Scholar Alum, and thought that those who support the mission of Starfish should get to know a little bit about him too. Jennifer: Hi Tyus. Thank you for taking time to talk with me. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

had the pleasure of meeting Tyus and his family in February 2019 at the Starfish Office. The family came out in support of Tyusâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; younger sister, who was completing her interview to become a Starfish Scholar. From that initial meeting, I became more acquainted with

Tyus: I am Tyus Wilkerson and I am 22 years old. I graduated from Warren Central High School. My dad is a former marine and my mom is a secretary. Currently, I am District Manager for Speedway. I am one of the youngest District Managers.

<< 4 >>

My Starfish experience taught me alot about connections. I have so many friends from Starfish.” Jennifer: Being one of the youngest District Managers is impressive Tyus. What are some of your career goals? Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? Tyus: I would like to move up in the company. There are lots of opportunities in the organization. But, I do have a goal to own my own business in the future. Jennifer: What would you say is one of your greatest accomplishments? Tyus: I would say graduating from college. Jennifer: Tell us where you attended college? Tyus: I attended college at the University of Southern Indiana. So graduating from college was my biggest accomplishment. During my freshman and sophomore year, I did not focus on my grades. Then reality set in. I was told I need to get straight A’s for 2

semesters or sit out a semester. Somehow, I got straight A’s both semesters. Jennifer: That is an accomplishment and not an easy task. It speaks to you having the aptitude and ability to commit. Who are some of your greatest influences? Tyus: I would say my parents and my mentor. My parents pushed me and made me realize that whatever I end up doing was on me. Jennifer: So your parents spoke to you about taking ownership. Tyus: Yes, definitely. Jennifer: How would you describe the impact of your Starfish experience as a high schooler? Tyus: My Starfish experience taught me alot about connections. I met so many friends that I probably would not << 5 >>

have had without Starfish. Then having a mentor made me focus more on school. He was an engineer and I thought I wanted to be an engineer. He helped me find out if engineering was something I really wanted to do.

I told her to try it out. I reminded her that she used to get jealous when she would see me with my mentor and now you can go hangout with your mentor and build a relationship. Now, she has so many friends with Starfish.

Jennifer: So, your mentor helped you explore engineering as a possible career choice and his input helped in your decision when selecting an academic major?

Jennifer: Tyus, you are now a Scholar Alum. What would you say to other Scholar Alumni about becoming involved with Starfish?

Tyus: Yes. My first choice for a major was engineering. I later changed my major to business once I figured out engineering wasn’t for me. Jennifer: Now you have a sister who is now a Scholar. Have the two of you had conversations about her new Starfish experience and what she should look to gain from her mentor? Tyus: Initially she didn’t want to do it. She thought it was stupid.

Tyus: It’s good to give back what what you’ve learned. Not everyone went through the same thing. Some people had great experiences and can share what they learned. Not everyone has had the same upbringing. Some people have life experiences that say “I came from here” and didn’t know that this was out there until their mentor showed them. So that person can show another kid there’s more opportunities out here than what you think. Jennifer: Thank you Tyus.

<< 6 >>

Why I Chose to Become a Starfish Mentor




Denny was a first generation college student. “School wasn’t on the radar for my family. I failed at farming, so I had to go to college.” He feels that he can connect with his scholar on this level, and help them navigate college even if their families aren’t able to help them.

Richelle remembers a mentor in her life who made an impact on her. This mentor was one of her college professors. “She gave me a lot of feedback - some positive and some not - but it was all to help me grow. She was funny, and I enjoyed being with her. Being with her helped me re-charge. After our meetings, I always left the room feeling better than when I walked in.”

Linh had a mentor in college who had a tremendous impact on her. “In college, I was fine academically, but he was able to help me socially. He was goal oriented and he taught me that if you work hard and treat people right - you’re going to be okay. He genuinely cared about people. He changed my whole perspective on college. I thought you had to do certain things to succeed - I was very linear in my approach. He showed me that there are many paths to success. He didn’t take things so seriously, and this taught me not to put so much pressure on myself.”

Jeremiah Jeremiah is committed to giving back as a Starfish Mentor. “God has gifted you to make a difference! I need to be the change that I want to see. I’m a product of people pouring into me. It’s time for me to repay that favor.”

Juan Juan remembers a mentor early in his career that made an impact on him. “She would tell you exactly like it was. She delivered feedback in a straight-forward but caring way. A great mentor is someone who – when you walk away, you believe that you can be better.” Juan hopes to be this kind of mentor for Starfish.

<< 7 >>

Addison Addison understands that there needs to be more people who want to help others. “I want to help someone navigate the world, and I will be happy knowing I was able to help someone.” Addison believes that big changes begin with small inputs of time and effort from everyday people.

A Look Back at 2019 FRESHMAN WEEK Freshman Week is such a great experience because we get to see the kids transition from nervous and squirmy 8th graders to excited and ambitious high school freshmen. It truly is the beginning of an Incredible Journey. - Taylor Cardis, Match Specialist

LEADERSHIP CAMP Leadership Camp allows our Scholars to explore their personal leadership skills while also collaborating in cabin groups. This is usually our Scholar’s first time away from home. Leadership Camp gives them a chance to experience what going off to college might feel like. - Lauren Remineh, Operations Manager

SENIOR CELEBRATION Senior celebration is the most bittersweet moment in one’s Starfish journey. The graduates stand taller with pride while their mentors take a step back to appreciate all that has been accomplished in a seemingly short four years. There is not a single person in the room who isn’t glowing with pride. Mentors walk alongside their scholars on the path to college and help to brush away any obstacles that might get in the way. Ultimately, as they enter the doors of Senior Celebration, they find a place where they can relax. They’ve made it through the journey. Each hand shake, each hug, each word out of their mouth is electrifying and humbling as you see where each Scholar started as Freshman and where they end up as Seniors. The word unstoppable doesn’t cover it. - Jess Ledesma, Match Specialist

<< 8 >>

2019-2020 CALENDAR

Business Roundtable Breakfast January 28, 2020

Rooftop Rally May 2020 Freshmen Week June 22 - 25, 2020

College and Career Fair at UIndy March 14, 2020

Match Night July 2020

College Mega Visit Spring 2020

Back to School Kick-Off August 8, 2020

Incredible Journey at IUPUI April 25, 2020

Shining Star Celebration August 20, 2020

Senior Celebration May 8, 2020

Leadership Camp September 11-13, 2020 << 9 >>

Why we challenged ourselves to

DOUBLE THE IMPACT “In spite of facing challenges, Starfish Scholars are focused on achieving the goal of success in the classroom and in their future careers. Starfish has made a commitment to “Double the Impact”, helping more Marion County teens achieve their goals.” (Asteroidea, Spring 2019, 1st Edition) Each day the headlines speak to the need for impactful change in our communities. Teens, more than ever, need those in the community who have navigated life’s challenges to invest in their futures. Starfish’s unique mentoring program is proof that mentoring provides a long-term benefit to the lives of each person in the mentoring relationship. A recent article by Sandra GascaGonzalez | October 8, 2019 speaks to adolescent brain development. “The report also shows us that the interactions professionals have with our young people make a critical difference. Young people become increasingly aware of and attuned to their social status during adolescence. The way they are treated — particularly by officials who have power over them and their families — can do immense good or cause enduring harm. Maximizing the promise of adolescence means extending that care to the families of young people and helping to maintain or strengthen those relationships, which can also be pivotal in a young person’s trajectory.” In Marion County, Indiana, thousands of teens enroll each year in the State of Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program. At Starfish Initiative, we come alongside Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program by expanding the success of the Starfish Mentoring model and helping more of our teens achieve greatness. Consider partnering with us “to make a difference to that one”.

We ask you to accept a “Call to Action”.

Become a Donor.

Become a Mentor.

Change a Life.

When we double the impact, We change lives and communities - today and tomorrow. To support the mission of Starfish and future Scholars, refer a “friend” or make your donation.


Why we challenged ourselves to

DOUBLE THE IMPACT Your gift can support Scholar Programming 4 4 4 4

A gift of $1,500 supports 1 scholar for a full year A gift of $500 helps provide bus transportation to College Mega Visit A gift of $150 sends 1 scholar to Leadership Camp A gift of $100 sends 1 scholar to Freshman Week

Make your donation today. 4 4 4

Donate online at Mail your donation to: Starfish Initiative 6958 Hillsdale Court Indianapolis, IN 46250 Make your gift of stock or include Starfish in your planned giving. Contact us for more info.

Starfish Initiative is a United Way Agency



Doubling the Impact does not stop

Follow Starfish on social media and


share with friends, followers or groups.





students means there is also a need to increase the number of mentors. The best recruiters for mentors is YOU! Partner with us by helping us recruit more mentors.


• Refer a friend • Invite us to make a presentation to your organization or employer • Invite a friend to a future Starfish event

For additional information, contact us at 317.955.7912 Thank you for supporting STARFISH! << 11 >>

Starfish Initiative

Advancement & Communications 6958 Hillsdale Court, Indianapolis, IN 46250 P: 317-955-7912 << 12 >>

Profile for starfishinitiative

ASTEROIDEA | November 2019 2nd Edition  

On November 20th, Starfish launched the second edition of ASTEROIDEA. The bi-annual publication was created to share stories of Starfish Sc...

ASTEROIDEA | November 2019 2nd Edition  

On November 20th, Starfish launched the second edition of ASTEROIDEA. The bi-annual publication was created to share stories of Starfish Sc...