Here's Leland Buggie, a Committed Partner mentor since 2013.

Leland is a native of Queens, N.Y. After graduation from high school, his voluntary service in the military exposed him to a variety of different countries and cultures, and made him acutely aware of the simple things that we in the U.S. take for granted, like educational opportunities and freedom of expression. Living in the U.S. Leland keeps reminding himself of his blessings and works to help others acknowledge theirs. Hearing today's "at risk" teens being portrayed in hopelessly negative terms, Leland decided to volunteer with YES!Atlanta so he could interact with and understand these young adults who often fall victim to the hype. Leland's intent during his interactions with his Committed Partner is to open new possibilities that the youth may unaware of because of his limited opportunities and/or social circumstances. His goal, during their interactions, is to provide new learning experiences that open fresh views of the possibilities of tomorrow.

Clara Wilcoxson, Committed Partner since 2008

A native Georgian, Clara B. Wilcoxson graduated from Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University) in Business Administration and attended West Georgia University's graduate program. She was happily married for thirty years to the late William R. Wilcoxson. In Clara's most recent position (until her retirement three years ago) she was responsible for overall administrative support to the Program Director of the Clean Water Management Team at Montgomery Watson and Harza Engineering, a global leader in water engineering.

Clara has been a YES!Atlanta Committed Partner since 2008, helping youth to grow beyond their circumstances and social condition. She says, "I enjoy the satisfaction that comes from supporting youth in their career development, and the knowledge that the world may be a better place because I made a difference in the life of a child."

Gordon Waller, with LaMontae. Committed Partners since 2011

I joined YES!Atlanta as a math tutor after moving to Atlanta to pursue a graduate degree in engineering at Georgia Tech. I soon realized that the youth we worked with faced greater challenges than solving long division. After a year as a tutor I wanted to do more so I decided to become a Committed Partner. I was paired with LaMontae, who was entering his senior year in high school and was interested in studying aerospace engineering. Unlike most of our youth, he had an outstanding academic record, but would be the first in his immediate family to go to college. So we decided the best way to help him would be by doing practice SAT exams. We did this, then went on to the ACT, his college essays, scholarship forms, and transcript requests. I was deeply impressed by LaMontae's diligence. He is a natural leader both in his church and his high school class. Despite having limited resources he's enrolled as a freshman in Georgia State University. I'm proud of having contributed to LaMontae's success.


YES!Atlanta's Rising Star Program was singled out for this award over 20 years ago.

Watch this page for features about YES!Atlanta volunteers and youth