FIFTEEN is a program that is much more intentional on getting students "through the door". FIFTEEN takes a deep interest, even on a personal level with their students. And it doesn't stop once students graduate from the program. This is what Divante Brunson had to say about the intentionality and personal interest that FIFTEEN staff members and mentors took in him:
"Upon starting school, I had trouble studying and connecting with a positive group of friends to attach myself to. I'm not quite sure my school system helped me with this. However, during my first year of college, the staff of E2L stood by me and visited me and asked how I was doing in my college classes. FIFTEEN was over with but they still wanted to help me and help mold me into a leader. They have been a big influence in my life. It was almost as if they took me in as on of their own and cared for me. So you can tell how much they deeply care about the students that they have invested in. They're not doing it just to do it, or just for shape form or fashion, but because they care. The love they've shown me I have been able to give back to others because they have shown me not only how to be a leader, but also a great person."
Fifteen Alum | Lee University
My first year of FIFTEEN, I spent most of the time being an introvert, not talking to many of my fellow "15" members. FIFTEEN met every other Saturday, and each session was held at Emory business school. I learned a lot about leadership, life skills, time management and self awareness that I would need throughout the remainder of my high school years and on into college. I never really saw college as a part of my future until FIFTEEN gave me the confidence I needed to believe in myself. As the first year progressed I started to get closer with my fellow classmates.
The second year of FIFTEEN, I started opening up to people and I began to interact more. My junior year was a hard year for me, and having my fellow FIFTEEN classmates there for me to lean on helped me through my situations. Things weren’t going well academically or in my personal life. Some of my friends began to turn their backs on me, and family problems began to overwhelm me. Somehow having a meeting every other Saturday and talking about leadership and how to take control of your life, made me feel like I could take on my problems.
My last year as a senior in the program, I was having mixed feelings of anxiety, restlessness, and some excitement knowing that college was on the horizon. The FIFTEEN mentors guided me through the college process and helped me pick a college that was a good fit. I was accepted to Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee.
My first year of college was extremely challenging. I feel that the school system did not prepare me for college, which made it harder for me to grasp the material. Lee University paired me with a study group that helped me learn how to study. E2L did not stop caring after I left the program, they continued to keep in touch with me and visit me in college."15" has had a huge influence on my life, it is really like a family that cares for you. You can tell how much the leadership deeply cares about the students that they have invested in. There not doing it just to do it, but because they care. The love they have shown me, I have given back to others. They not only showed me how to be a good leader, but also a good person.