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Mentoring: A Key Component of Amway’s DNA

January is National Mentoring Month, celebrating the role of mentors in the lives of young people, helping them to develop skills, self-confidence, life goals, and the plans to achieve them. 

Amway has long understood the importance and power of mentoring. It’s an integral part of Amway’s direct selling business model, with independent business owners mentoring newer business owners, helping them to achieve their goals with an Amway business of their own. 

That’s why Amway responded to the call back in 2005 to support the U.S. Dream Academy, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering at-risk youth, providing them with academic, social and values enrichment through supportive, after-school mentoring programs. Gospel singer Wintley Phipps founded the U.S. Dream Academy as a way to help the children of incarcerated parents, who themselves are at higher risk of being incarcerated during their lifetimes. 

Over the years since, Amway and some of its leading business owners have provided direct financial support annually, snacks for the kids after school, and promotional support for annual fundraisers.  

During the pandemic, when social distancing adversely affected opportunities for mentors to meet with mentees, the U.S. Dream Academy rolled out a virtual mentoring program which allowed employees at Amway’s headquarters in Michigan – where there are no U.S. Dream Academy centers – to become mentors with the organization. 

Jacques Moss, Manager of the Office of the CEO at Amway, began mentoring kids with the U.S. Dream Academy in 2021: “Having two kids of my own, I am a firm believer that it takes a village to raise kids. I like to think I’m an extension of the Dream Academy’s village.”

With a few other Amway employees, Jacques team-mentors a small group of kids who live in Salt Lake City. “I have this mentee who never speaks and always keeps to himself. He very rarely smiled during our sessions. He is now participating more, smiling and sharing his own thoughts, which is huge from where we were three years ago. Every week is progress, and that is why I sign up to do this every year.”

Dana Roefer, a brand manager at Amway, began mentoring a 5th grade student in 2022: “I’m passionate about kids and believe it’s important for them to have many adults in their corner.”

The most important thing about mentoring, according to Jacques, is that these students have someone who shows up for them and provides some stability. In addition to encouragement and a listening ear, mentors open students’ eyes up to a bigger world and broader horizons than they might have previously imagined. 

The experience also provides benefits for the mentors, as well. 

Dana Roefer – Marketing, Amway / Mentor, U.S. Dream Academy with Ziana – Mentee, U.S. Dream Academy 

“I always appreciate the opportunity to connect with individuals with different life experiences than my own,” said Dana, who mentors a student named Ziyona. “I’ve learned a lot from Ziyona about her school, family and life. She has an incredible amount of interests and passions; it’s so fun to be able to call them out and encourage her to continue pursuing them!” 

Jacques echoed Dana’s sentiments: “Listening to their stories and seeing how they look at the world, I learn so much. In fact, I feel that I am becoming a better parent to my own children. Seeing what they deal with and what they are passionate about gives me a better understanding of what I can expect when my children hit that age.”

Amway employees who have mentored kids with the U.S. Dream Academy have viewed it as a rewarding experience and encourage others to consider becoming a mentor too. 

“If you’re on the fence about it, I’d say you should go for it,” said Jacques. “These students are looking for someone who will listen to them. When you do that with empathy, compassion and love, it goes a long way.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the U.S. Dream Academy and how to get involved, visit: