Dallas Prestige Group Proves Mentoring Works
June 27, 2023

Dallas Prestige Group Proves Mentoring Works

By Trey Hill, Program Officer

“What’s up Lil’ Ray? How’s your Pops?” Brandon Stovall, executive director of Dallas Prestige Group, asks one of boys who are beginning to file into the designated classroom at Charles Rice Elementary for the leadership development program he runs there. Brandon then leans over to tell me he played basketball with Ray’s father growing up in South Dallas.

“Hey, Hector! How’d that math test go last week?” He says to the next young man with a fist bump.

He goes on to greet every young man by name upon entering the classroom with some detail about what was going on in their world.

This is how every class starts with Dallas Prestige Group’s leadership development classes that are held at local schools and nonprofits in South Dallas, whether it is Brandon or one of his team members. He later explains, it is just a small way to let these young men know that they have worth and that they are known.

As mentioned, Brandon grew up in South Dallas and had the benefit of growing up in a two-parent home with grandparents nearby. (His parents still live in the community where both mom and dad are still deeply invested). He had plenty of love and support around him and plenty of folks to help him course-correct when he stepped out of line. Unfortunately, that was not the case for some of his friends and classmates growing up in the neighborhood.

“My mom was very insistent that I participate in every extracurricular activity offered at Charles Rice, I mean every,” Brandon told me with a laugh. (Charles Rice Elementary is one of the schools where he now serves).

That insistence led to him becoming a strong piano player that led to a chance for him to attend the only arts magnet middle school in DISD at the time, W.E. Greiner. After Greiner, Brandon went to Townview Magnet High School, a nationally-recognized DISD school. Both Greiner and Townview were not in his neighborhood. It was in attending the magnet schools that he realized there was an opportunity and resource gap between his school experience and many of his friends who continued to attend their neighborhood schools.

This realization, along with the recognition not every young person has a positive role model, seeded the idea for Dallas Prestige Group and kindled his desire to invest in young people growing up in South Dallas.

Today, Brandon and his team of six offer a leadership development program called Prestige Partners at five DISD schools in South Dallas and at three community partner sites.  (Two of the community partner sites are also Rees-Jones Foundation grantees – Braswell Child Development Center and Bridgebuilders)

The program teaches positive communication and leadership skills through a self-developed curriculum that Brandon wrote and through group mentoring sessions. The children are given opportunities to put their leadership skills into practice through community service events they plan. Every lesson also incorporates key social-emotional learning into the daily activities to help the students regulate emotions, resolve conflict, and build healthy peer relationships.

But as Brandon will tell you, the program is really all about building trusting relationships and helping the students discover their unique voice, potential, and worth. This summer, Dallas Prestige Group will be working with 120 young people, ages 6-16, through BridgeBuilders, another community partner in Dallas.

The Rees-Jones Foundation believes mentoring youth is a game-changer for children if we want to see them succeed in school, in life, and to become leaders in their communities. In 2014, Mentor International released The Mentoring Effect report that found “young adults who face an opportunity gap but have a mentor are 55% more likely to be enrolled in college than those who did not have a mentor.” [i] A study performed by Big Brothers Big Sisters in the early 2000’s also reported “students who meet regularly with their mentors are 52% less likely to skip a class.” [ii]

The Foundation has seen students soar as a result of mentors who have invested in their lives and shown them their gifts, talents, and worth already inherent within each of them. We get excited at the vision of a world where all children understand their value and where safe relationships are catalysts to help them meet their full potential.


[i] https://www.mentoring.org/resource/the-mentoring-effect/

[ii] https://www.mentoring.org/mentoring-impact/

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