Triple Threat Mentoring Helping kids develop confidence, character, and life skills
Having grown up in a low-income household, Aurora resident Caleb Luper always dreamed of breaking the cycle of poverty. He worked hard, graduated from Greenville College with a degree in Communications, and had a successful career in the business world. Only to discover that his life was not complete. “Is this it? I soon realized that life is more than just about money and stuff,” said Caleb Luper, president and CEO Triple Threat Mentoring. So he sold everything and became a missionary – facilitating short mission trips and sports camps in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. There he saw poverty first hand. His strong faith and passion to serve under privileged kids inspired Luper to help kids back home in Aurora where he pledged to help change the face of poverty. “Low-income kids have the same hopes and dreams just like every kid in Naperville,” said Luper.
In 2007, Luper founded Triple Threat Mentoring, an Aurora-based nonprofit that strives to empower under privileged urban kids through mentoring programs and events in Aurora and Chicago. Luper started mentoring five kids during after school basketball camps. Now, his programs serve more than 20,000 kids with the help of thousands of volunteers and partners. Many of the kids come from low-income households with limited opportunities for growth and development. Depleted resources for education, extra-curricular activities, staffing, and leadership leave many kids disadvantaged and at risk.
More than Mentoring
Triple Threat Mentoring offers weekly programming and special events in the Arts, Academics and Athletics. The passion-based programming connects adults with a passion in a particular area of interest with kids who share that same passion. “Passions are meant to be shared”, said Luper.
The Arts and Athletics programs help to instill confidence and build life skills. The academic mentoring programs are non-traditional programs designed to encourage the ‘love of learning’ and are focused on such topics as gardening and cooking. “Volunteers who like to cook are paired with kids who have an interest in cooking. We teach them about proper nutrition and how to prepare a healthy meal,” said Luper.
Triple Threat’s success comes from its winning combination of pairing adult volunteers with under resourced youths. “We are not only about serving the kids. We are helping adults discover their true purpose in life. We are helping them (adults) answer the question ‘What am I giving back?’”, said Luper.
Triple Threat relies on volunteers as the driving force behind its programs. Luper says the volunteers enjoy the programs and events as much as the kids they serve. “Any great thing we do is because of our volunteers. They give us their time. We provide training and support,” said Luper. Volunteers commit to an eight-week program customized to their area of interest once a week for 1 to 21/2 hours.
“The number one motivating factor for a kid (to succeed) is building positive relationships with adults. Kids need role models. We continue to focus on building relationships with kids, families and communities,” said Luper. Triple Threat has also developed strong partnerships with the community, schools, and churches.
“Aurora is our working lab. It has many of the same social issues as big cities like Chicago,” said Luper. His goal is to continue offering programs and services in Aurora and Chicago while also expanding the program on a national scale in cities such as New York and Los Angeles.
“I have the greatest job on the planet. This is my faith being lived out. I’m lucky to be living the faith and able to drag a few people along the way for the ride,” said Luper.
To share your passion in life with an under privileged youth visit, www.triplethreat.org/volunteer.