The Rams Pathways to Success Mentorship Program aims to support the professional development of local high school students and expose them to the inner workings of the sports industry. The program recently concluded its second year with a culminating dinner at El Torito, where mentors and mentees shared a meal and reflected on the impact of the program.
"My experience was insane! I was able to learn quite a bit about how football works behind the scenes," said Alexander Dunston, a junior at Canoga Park High School. "I'd have to say my favorite part of the program was getting to meet new people. It's something I admittedly have trouble with sometimes, but it's always such a great feeling to do so."
The program provides local high school juniors and seniors mentorship from front office staff and offers virtual workshops covering various topics such as goal setting, interview preparation, financial literacy, as well as how to leverage technology and build a personal brand.
"Professionally, one thing that I learned from the program was financial literacy and being smart with how I spend my money," said Ryder Garnick, a senior at Canoga Park High School. "It will help me shape my future and keep myself financially stable, especially with times like this going on right now and inflation. Everything's getting expensive, so making sure I know how to spend my money properly and keeping that in my back pocket is something I definitely need to know."
The 2022 season of the Rams Pathways to Success Mentorship Program served 13 high school students and began in July at the Rams Training Camp. The program matched each student with a front office staff member. The first workshop focused on goal setting and provided an opportunity for mentors and mentees to meet each other for the first time.
"My biggest highlight from the program was meeting Ryder," said Johnas Pulley, Rams Member Services Representative. "From day one, I knew we were going to hit it off. We have the same passions and interests. Aside from all the professional development, we were able to connect on a personal level as well, so it was a blast. Ryder reminds me a lot of myself. The best part of our relationship is that we plan to carry it on after the program."
The Rams launched the Pathways to Success Mentorship Program in 2021. The program not only offers local students mentorship and professional development, but it also focuses on self-discovery.
"When I applied for this, I really wasn't sure because I didn't really know a lot about football and I did not really watch the Rams, but I am a student-athlete. I love being around sports and energy," said Grace Minnick, a senior at Canoga Park High School. "I know that I am a person that tries to bring light and excitement everywhere I go, so I figured that there would be someone here that did that as well."
In addition to virtual sessions with their mentors, the Rams host the program participants for multiple in-person sessions including a tour of the University of Southern California's campus and athletic department, as well as a job-shadowing opportunity with their mentor at a Rams home game at SoFi Stadium.
"I am so glad that I took this opportunity," Minnick continued. "I'm still not a huge fan of football but being around the Rams and seeing how passionate every single person at this company is about doing their job is great. We were walking around, and I saw the people who helped keep the stadium clean excited and happy to be there and support the team they love. Even though I don't know what's going on when the ball is being tossed, the fact that so many people worked so hard to get it in the air is just inspiring."
To learn more about the Rams' community efforts, please visit www.therams.com/community.