This post is part of the series Partner Profiles, where US2020 RTP shares the story of how our nonprofit, corporate, school, and university partners are contributing to a STEM education community of practice.
Atrayus Goode is the Founder and CEO of Movement of Youth, a nonprofit that engages college students as mentors for underserved youth. Movement of Youth is based off a similar program that Atrayus completed, sponsored by the Greater Charlotte Chapter of the 100 Black Men of America. He founded Movement of Youth as a junior at the University of North Carolina as a way to give back to the community, and the program currently serves over 200 youth in the Triangle.
How did having a mentor impact your life?
Having a mentor impacted my life because my mentor showed me the broad array of options that I had in life, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have the same mentor for the past 16 years. He spent a lot of time being very intentional with me, and I think the biggest lesson that I learned from him was the importance of service and giving back to others. He spent a lot of time with me and shared a lot of lessons around humility, and being purposeful about what you do in life, and that’s something that’s carried me a very long way.
Did he inspire you to start Movement of Youth?
He did. It’s actually based off of the mentorship program that was sponsored by the Greater Charlotte Chapter of the 100 Black Men of America. And the 100’s model is “what they see is what they’ll be.” Their model is around visioning, so when you see people that look like you that are in positions of influence, it helps you to envision yourself in that position as well. So I was exposed to a number of black doctors, bankers, and lawyers that helped me see that I already had what it takes to be successful. When I graduated from high school I was awarded a scholarship to attend college, so once I got on campus I felt I had to give back. I recognized that I wasn’t there because I was so great on my own—my brothers from the 100, my mentor in particular, really helped lay the foundation so that I could be successful.
Why do you think STEM mentoring is important?
I think mentoring is important because it helps to provide stable relationships that can promote academic and social development. I think what happens for a lot of students, in particular students of color, is that they don’t have their interest in STEM piqued early enough. It helps people break down some of the stereotypes of what STEM professionals look like. So when you see someone who looks like you in a STEM profession, then you can see yourself as one.
What are the Movement of Youth Opportunities available on US2020.org?
Right now we have something called Competitive Robotics, where students learn how to build robots and work on team building and leadership.
Why did Movement of Youth partner with US2020?
We liked the idea of collaboration. For me that’s what US2020 represents: a convening, a group of organizations that are doing positive work that may not have previously known about each other. The way I see US2020 in RTP is that you’re bringing together nonprofits and community organizations that are able to list opportunities, speak to one another, and share best practices. The universities help provide resources as well. Then you have the corporate communities—people who are interested in mentoring. I think it’s very powerful because we start to speak together and move mentoring together.