Mentoring Matters: HANDY Helps Teens Stay Focused
May 23, 2016 4:17 PM

FORT LAUDERDALE — The nonprofit organization Helping Abused Neglected and Disadvantaged Youth (HANDY) has a mission to embrace, educate and empower young adults.

The organization serves more than 1,300 at-risk youth each year. One of the many ways it does that is through mentoring.

That’s how Wesly Phebe met his mentor Axel Soto a year ago.

“I was raised by a single mother, and I’ve seen what an impact a male has in a person’s life and a child’s life,” said Soto who wants to positively influence Phebe.

Soto says he loves being there for the teen. Just a few weeks ago, he lent Phebe sunglasses for his spring dance.

“The next day, I called him, and I was like, ‘How was it,’” said Soto. “He was like, ‘Man, I killed it, killed it!’”

Soto says the experience has been very rewarding.

“When you hear the excitement in his voice, when you hear those things, you know that you are impacting in a positive light,” he said.

The two bond over chess.

A junior at Fort Lauderdale Prep, Phebe recently participated in the Broward County Mayor’s Chess Challenge, and was awarded a certificate from Sunrise Mayor Michael Ryan, and a one-year membership to the NSCF.

He is also part of the HANDY chess academy but he admits he’s still working on his game to beat his mentor.

“He taught me not to grow up too fast, and not to rush into things, and take your time,” said Phebe. “The best part about being a mentee is you get to learn new things every day.”

Phebe starred in HANDY’s holiday party at the Broward Center for Performing Arts. He wants to become a teacher or an actor. He says his mentor has taught him to stay focused on his goals.

“The best part about being a mentor, is making a difference and knowing that you are impacting someone’s life, little or big as it is,” said Soto.


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