Cordan Haveron’s July 9 summer mentoring program focuses on SEL skills for Black students

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“The one thing that made the difference for me, is that someone showed me that they cared about me. How your story started isn’t how it ends.” – Cordan Haveron

Cordon James Haveron

MANCHESTER, NH – Cordan James Haveron of Cordan James LLC, founder of The Comeback Kids Mentorship Program is paying it forward. The Comeback Kids, is partnering with Living Proof Mentoring Program which received $50,000 in funding from the Summer Matters for All Grant program. Haveron will virtually facilitate his 10-week Comeback Kids program, a social-emotional learning skills course, free for Vermont and New Hampshire youth for those who identify as Black, with a one-hour orientation on July 9 at 5 p.m.

“The program utilizes 10 visual metaphors to teach the ups and downs of life. Our actions have consequences. The choice that we make today affect our future. We also talk about defense mechanisms, how to be aware of them, how to identify support systems and competencies,” says Haveron.

The program entails a once-a-week Why Try? session. “The full Comeback Kids Mentorship Program is twice a week, and involves community service, workshops and speaking engagements,” states Haveron.

You can register ⇒ here for the July 9 orientation.

Born in Los Angeles, Haveron entered the foster care system as a toddler. At the age of 3, Haveron, a Black man, was adopted by a White family in the state of Utah.

I had the pleasure of being with Utah’s best foster family. We weren’t just a paycheck for them,” says Haveron.

At the age of 13, Haveron transferred to a group home where he was introduced to the Why Try? program, a strategically progressive course that utilizes a holistic approach to teach resilience. Haveron, who was facing adolescence’s turbulent crossroads, thrived within its non-traditional approach. In 2020, curious about its fate, at the age of  33, Haveron decided to search online for the program that was the catalyst to his course-correcting experience. Not only did he find the Why Try? program flourishing, but he also partnered with its founder Christian Moore.

“The Comeback Kids mentorship is partnered with Why Try? Our overall goal is that we can teach resilience, which matches with my message of where Comeback Kids come back stronger,” says Haveron.

According to its website: WhyTry is an evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) program citing academic improvement, advancement in social/behavioral skills, a decrease in expulsions as well as additional core enrichment through implementing the three R’s, relationship, relevance and resilience. 

Haveron commends his foster family and his former Why Try? therapist, whom he maintains a relationship with, as the paradigm-shifting forces in his life.

“My foster family and my therapist… it was foster care but it was home if you wanted it to be. Having shelter and love and understanding and a place to eat and then you have your therapist working on that other side. The combination of all those things made me feel safe and at home. I would have to give credit to the intervention that occurred between therapy and the Why Try? program those are the things that showed me that somebody cared and that led me into being able to thrive. It wasn’t somebody who was judging. The toolkit, the approach, wasn’t just psychology. Learning how to cope, from meditation to yoga we did a lot outside of the therapy office. Having that form of therapy made the difference for me. They taught me how to feel. It’s that state of being that you’re numb, that is a dangerous place for anyone to be, young or old. We do see our youth shutting down and nobody can get through to them. The basis of that is that they need to feel,” explains Haveron.

The need to feel is a crucial juncture that Haveron is ready to uniquely tackle. Clearly motivated from his personal experiences, Haveron’s concern for youth and their families is his professional priority. Haveron explains, “I think it’s about our youth and families. I just realize that the overall well-being has been impacted when it comes to families. I’m seeing that families are not unified. I have a unique perspective working with trans-racial and bi-racial children. We see that the racism in our communities and political advantages are at the forefront of our families these days.” 

Cognizant of the advantages of treating the family unit as a whole, Haveron’s ultimate vision is multiple outpatient clinics, where he can address youth as well as their families, referring to it as, “A center of excellence. Being able to own my own outpatient clinic, not only here in Manchester but being able to duplicate this in other areas as well, especially back home in Utah where I come from, where I can help the whole being.”

Currently, Haveron will continue to create social capital locally, however, he is also looking toward a grander horizon.

“On a larger level I am motivated by very few people, but Eric Thomas, The Hip Hop Preacher, is someone I look up to as a speaker and as a Black man. I think working alongside him to inspire the kids to focus on the relationship with self and others could heal tomorrow’s traumas.”

When asked where he finds his personal drive Haveron answers, “My children. At the end of all this, what is my legacy? No matter how well educated, decorated, strong, or trained I am there are certain things I cannot do. That scares me! But, if there is a program I can create and can put into place that helps my kids and their friends thrive then that’s the meaning of this life.”

⇒ Click to register for the July 9 webinar here.

⇒ Learn more about Living Proof Mentoring here.


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Constance Cherise

Constance Cherise is a freelance writer and contributor for Turner Classic MoviesSee her work here.