A corporate mentorship program new to the area brought practical life lessons and impactful inspiration to Union Grove Middle School students.

Four managers from the Harker Heights Sam’s Club volunteered 50 hours at the school, mentoring 17 eighth-graders in goalsetting and budgeting skills through the “Mi Futura” program.

The adults from the business community met with students monthly since last September, culminating the lessons with a graduation Thursday in the school’s library.

Eighth-graders Morrighan Thompson and Teyrra Goodrich read “promise letters” during the ceremony spelling out goals for themselves.

“I liked how we could be ourselves and learn at the same time,” said Goodrich, adding the sessions taught her the cost of living and the challenge of matching income with expenses.

“I learned how much it costs to be an adult.”

In her letter to herself, Thompson said, “Don’t let yourself down. Don’t be defined by others.”

Sam’s Club assistant manager Wesley Abrahams said the program is meant to encourage students to work hard and to pursue education leading to future success.

The mentoring effort is active in 84 Wal-Mart stores and two Sam’s Clubs in 28 states.

An emotional Tania Ware, Union Grove school counselor, said she was touched by the business managers’ willingness to volunteer their time for students.

“The fact that they wanted to help with students was powerful,” Ware said. “They brought in lessons and mentored our kids. It was great to watch them work and grow and to have someone outside the school show they care.”

One of the guest mentors, retired Lt. Gen. Donald Jones, addressed the eighth-graders during the ceremony.

He urged students to have the courage to take risks, to learn from mistakes and to use good communication skills and continue self-improvement through education.

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