By: Jill Mendoza
For several years, IDO Associates have volunteered as mentors who help inspire high school students to pursue careers in design and construction. The ACE Mentor Program is a not-for-profit organization, formed under Section 501(c)3 of the District of Columbia in 2002. A history of the organization can be viewed here. Thanks to the dedication of ACE’s mentors and staff in Indiana and other affiliates across the nation, ACE is now the construction industry’s fastest-growing high school mentoring program reaching over 8,000 students annually.
Who better to inspire a new generation of young people to start careers in an industry than the professionals currently shaping it. Our very own IDO Associates, Lindsay Ferro and Kelsey Venekamp, are shining examples of the emerging talent in one of the many vocations ACE represents, Interior Design. Just this month on May 9th, the ACE Mentor Program of Indiana held their 11th Annual Awards banquet. Among the many students, sponsors and mentors recognized our very own Lindsay was awarded the 2017 Mentor of the Year for her Mentorship and Leadership on the Decatur Central Team. Additionally, Kelsey’s mentee, JoDee Lynch, who has receive $ 5,000 in total scholarships, will be headed to Purdue University this fall where she plans to study Interior Design! When asked about her experience in the ACE Program, JoDee responded; “Last year when I began ACE, I had no clue what I wanted to study in the future. But after one trip to IDO with my mentors, I fell in love with Interior Design! I realized that interior design is all around me, and designers have this strange power to affect how people live and work. While I don’t quite think of designers as Superheros, it’s close enough for me! Ultimately, my newfound love for interior design connects directly back to my mentors, and I’m so grateful they’ve passed on their passion for design to me!”
We have many discussions in our office regarding how we can best give back to the community and at the same time, balance our small firms need to generate income for our business and value for our clients. We recently discussed a passage from the book “Art’s Principles” which reads:
“What a group does with its billable time determines its income for the year. What it does with its nonbillable time determines its future”. Can’t think of a better way to describe the value of the ACE Mentor Program. Thank you, Kelsey, Lindsay, JoDee and all ACE Mentors, sponsors and students for your hard work and dedication and for living the future today!