The city of Lake Charles partnered with Family and Youth Counseling Agency to present Mayor Nic Hunter’s inaugural Mayor’s Mentorship Award on Thursday morning during the 2018 Light of Hope Breakfast and Awards Presentation at L’Auberge Casino Resort. The Mayor’s Mentorship Award seeks to honor two community individuals who hold an “exceptional commitment to mentoring activities in Lake Charles,” said Kimberly Delafosse, assistant city administrator for the city of Lake Charles.

Anita Barker, founder of Girlie Girls Mentoring Program, won in the adult division. Girlie Girls seeks to “help young ladies achieve their full potential by becoming influential and active members of their community,” said Delafosse. Receiving her award, Barker said that mentoring is truly her life’s passion which requires dedication, countless hours of hard work and a strong support system. Yet, “The regaining of a girl’s love for herself is worth every second of time and energy it takes to make this happen,” she exclaimed.

In organizing the inaugural award, Delafosse said that the City of Lake Charles would be remiss if it didn’t also honor young people who help positively shape their peers. Darrin Nixon, senior at A.M. Barbe High School, won the youth award because of the many community initiatives including service, athletics and musical outlets where he uses his time and talent to develop others. “Character and love for the community make him the obvious choice for our youth mayor’s mentorship award,” said Delafosse.

The Mayor’s Mentorship Award was created out of Hunter’s desire to see Lake Charles’s rising juvenile crime rate curtailed. The rate was “one statistic we did not want to become a trend,” explained Delafosse. Upon taking office, Hunter and staff began an initiative to re-evaluate what was being done locally to assist youth and found evidence indicating that mentoring is strong combatant against delinquency.

The Mayor’s Mentorship Award seeks to send a community message encouraging others take up the mantle of mentorship. “We wanted to honor people who are making a difference because we want the community to see that it is important to the recognize people who are preparing our young people for the future,” said Delafosse.

For more information on the city of Lake Charles’s youth initiatives visit, ww.cityoflakecharles.com/.

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