Vaunita Martin Mug

Vaunita Martin

Have you invested yourself in others? By giving another our time, our expertise, by being a support system, we help foster lasting impressions that can change the course of a life.

I would like to set a challenge for every person reading this today: Pick one person you know who is struggling – in direction, emotionally, physically, or monetarily – and reach out to help. Positive encouragement may be all that an individual needs to have the faith to take the necessary steps in moving forward.

Whether we are willing to admit it or not, we need each other. Feeling supported instills a sense of worth and purpose, and drives us to do more. In economic development, we call this investing in human capital. Typically when this phrasing is used, it’s about workforce development. For me, it’s much more than filling open positions in businesses. I desire for each individual embarking on a workforce path to have the opportunity and support to achieve his/her full potential. Why is this so important? If every person entering the workforce is enabled to climb the ladder of success, that same individual receives financial rewards, showcases behaviors that lead to successful outcomes for family and children, and then in turn can give back to others. What a chain reaction of triumph! Investing in the lives of our families, friends and neighbors allows us to reap invaluable rewards down the road. So, are we being intentional with our purpose?

ICDC has an opportunity for you to exercise your purpose. We have 24 students who will be a part of the Itawamba Jr. Leadership Program this year. Would you be willing to commit to help mentor a student? We need experts in all fields: business, medical, engineering, mechanical, landscaping, banking, government and everything in between. Lend two hours of your time to one of our students, allow them to job shadow, ask questions, and make connections with other professionals in your field of expertise. This mentorship will greatly influence the future career paths of our students. This program can enhance the lives of our next generation of leaders. Imagine if you had the opportunity at 16 or 17 years old to have hands-on experience with a professional in a career field before you ever went to college or work. Would it have changed your mind, enlightened you, or saved lots of invested dollars on a career path choice? Help our students navigate potential career choices that will best suit their talents and abilities by volunteering as a mentor by contacting Vaunita Martin at (662) 862-4571 or

Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” Leaders of Itawamba County, let us invest today in the limitless potential of our next generation of leaders. Let’s give them every opportunity to succeed, to stay, and grow their children into future generations of leaders that change the direction of our communities, state, and world!

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