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Mentor program helps two people a generation apart build friendship

Mentor program helps two people generation apart build friendship

A mentoring program called Be a Mentor was created to help high school students prepare for college. It has helped one graduate reach that goal.

Fifty-four years divides Patricia Riley and Natrese Dorsey in age, but this mentor and her mentee have built what they call a lifelong friendship. They were paired together by a North Charleston High School guidance counselor in 2014.

The goal was to match Natrese with an adult who could help mentor her for the next steps in her education.

"I think when you spend that much time with someone and you share someone's goals and you watch them grow from a young woman into a woman the relationship just develops,” Riley said.

Riley, a former captain of the U.S. Air Force, used her G.I. bill to send herself to college. Now a retiree, she became a mentor to encourage others to further their education.

"It's important to me to educate young people today. That is the way to succeed is through education," Riley said.

Dorsey graduated from North Charleston High School in 2016 as Valedictorian and received her acceptance letter to Georgia State University, the same school Riley attended.

"I don't even think I would be at Georgia State University if it hadn't been for her," Dorsey said.

Riley will make sure she continues to succeed.

"We have a very tight bond together and I will certainly be in touch with Natrese through her college years and beyond," Riley said.

Riley encouraged Dorsey to apply for the Reverend Pinckney Scholars Program. She was one of the recipients.

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