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Sheldon Hill has been a beloved member of the PeerForward family for more than 16 years. He first started his journey as a Peer Leader himself and later served as an Alumni Leader and Alumni Leader Coordinator. Sheldon became a Certified Rap Director, now known as a PeerForward Coach, serving as a facilitator for the Northern California/Oakland region for many years.
Through PeerForward’s presence in schools in his community wained Sheldon became a Volunteer College Coach. Because of the many roles he has filled over the years, he understands the impact of PeerForward and wanted to continue to pay it forward to future Peer Leaders. He has become a beloved College Coach during workshop season, his presence bringing welcoming and chill energy to all of our Peer Leaders, alumni, and fellow volunteers. Sheldon’s College Summit journey continues to inspire us which is why he is our Volunteer Spotlight!
Can you share a bit about your reasoning for coming back to PeerForward as a Volunteer College Coach?
One reason I come back is family. I’ve been with PeerForward for over 16 years now and I’ve built a lot of great relationships. A lot of people that come back year after year to serve PeerForward are my family. Workshops are one of the only moments we have to reconnect and do stuff we love. I feel like it’s just PeerForward brings an energy of love and positivity to everyone involved, so it’s always a good time.
Another reason I came back to be a College Coach is because one of the most influential people at my workshop was my College Coach. I want to support the Peer Leaders the way I was supported. I love seeing the students arrive on the first day of workshops not knowing what to expect, then progressing and learning throughout the following four days. Seeing their progress, change of emotions, and growth is inspiring. So, being a College Coach is a great experience, and I love it.
Is there a particular Peer Leader you can recall whose journey was particularly impactful in your eyes?
I’ll always tell the story of DeeJay [Dr. Darryl Hylton Jr.]. He’s a very big part of our organization and a very well-rounded young man. DeeJay came into his PeerForward Workshop as a very high-energy student. Because of this, he was viewed as a bit defiant, but we soon came to realize we just didn’t understand him yet. He always had a great sense of what he was going to do with his life, and he turned out to be a great Peer Leader. DeeayJ is a prime example of the success of the PeerForward model. This process is legit, and it works. Every time I see DeeJay, every time I talk to him, it just makes me proud. I know where he started from and now, he’s a doctor. It fills me with joy to see that. Definitely.
How has PeerForward changed your approach to life?
PeerForward changed my perspective on everything as far as being prepared. Preparation is everything, research is everything, and being present in the moment is everything. I have also learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s one of the most influential things I’ve learned in my time at PeerForward. You get in so many situations in life that will make you uncomfortable, but sometimes you just have to be in that moment and push through to achieve your goals.
Thank you, Sheldon!
Some answers have been modified for length and clarity.
You can help first-generation students from low-income communities achieve their goals as a PeerForward volunteer. Read more and apply here: Become a PeerForward Volunteer!