Family Focus

Carolina teen recognized as mentee of the year

Each January, in conjunction with National Mentoring Month, the Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance honors the remarkable mentoring work that takes place in the Charlotte community.

The alliance highlights the achievements of individuals and organizations that have made it their mission to inspire and motivate youths and their families to continue to lead positive lives.

There were four award categories, including grassroots mentoring organization of the year, best collaboration in mentoring, mentor of the year and mentee of the year.

Mongai Fankam was chosen as a mentee of the year.

Fankam, affectionately known as Mo, is a full-time student and a mentee of the EmpowHERment organization.

While juggling both school and mentee responsibilities, Fankam also leads a nonprofit organization, No Backpack Day.

The organization highlights a day to which youths in the U.S. go to school without their backpacks, carrying all their books and school supplies in their hands or in plastic bags to raise awareness for the millions of children around the world who have to walk miles to school in the same manner.

“This past year has displayed our need for meaningful relationships more than ever. You rose to the challenge and persisted. You prioritized healthy relationships and served our youth during a time when they needed additional support the most,” said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles.

Fankam’s mentor works with Fankam to increase her social capital by connecting her with resources and opportunities to help fundraise for No Backpack Day and another girls’ leadership event.

In addition, Fankam has also embarked on an entrepreneurial journey and launched a T-shirt line.

Lyles acknowledged the meaningful work performed by mentoring agencies and individuals in Charlotte, along with the dedication required to support the social and emotional well-being of our future community leaders.

“To serve as mentors, we know firsthand the characteristics that best accompany the role of a generous spirit. An ear to listen without judgment. The ability to relate to youth while encouraging and supporting them in pursuit of their own destiny,” Lyles said.

The Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance connects Charlotte organizations to promote mentoring and its best practices through training sessions and workshops, recognition and establishing quality standards for mentoring in the city.

Click here to learn more about the Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance.

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs managers, at