PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — One local organization in Portsmouth that focuses on youth needs the community’s help.

The Up Center needs more men to participate in their Team Up Mentor Program. The facility has been in the community for decades and they coordinate Team Up Mentor Program.

Parvel Auguste, who is a real estate agent, recently became a mentor because he wanted to serve others.

“Pay it forward, the way my brothers helped me as well,” Auguste said.

The Up Center has about 100 children on the waitlist to participate in the mentor program and about 90 are young Black boys.

“Having adults from all different walks of life is important because we have kids from all different walks of life,” said Rebecca Miller from the Up Center.

Advocates report that when a child has a mentor, there are significant positive changes in their behavior and grades.

“When you have someone that looks like you that has been through what you’ve been through, it makes all the difference,” said Jessica Simmons of the Up Center, who moved away from most of his family.

Even if someone has made mistakes in the past, they can still become a mentor. The Up Center provides training and group activities to help mentors and mentees build positive relationships.

Auguste wants to encourage more men to step up and commit to becoming a mentor.

“Just get out of your comfort zone,” said Auguste, “you might be uncomfortable doing new things you haven’t done before.”

If you are interested in becoming a mentor you can call the Up Center at  (757) 337-3414 or email them at teamupmentoring@theupcenter.org.