“This was one of the best programs I have seen in my three years with After School Matters. The instructor was supportive of all youth and his understanding of pacing activities was excellent. He is the definition of a positive role model for youth. One former member helped with the program because it helped him through personal struggles, and the instructor is clearly well respected by all of the participants. Guides and supports were included with all activities, and the youth often discussed the course content without being prompted by the instructor. One participant even used her income toward her business concept.
I was impressed with all aspects of this program, and I don’t have many suggestions. Every activity was linked to real-life business or working situations, and the youth’s contributions were outstanding. The staff has a clear understanding of student engagement and making all activities relevant to the learning objective. Outstanding work!”
- After School Matters; Chicago, IL
“The Male Mogul program has been one of the most impactful mentoring programs we've implemented here at Walter H. Dyett High School for the Arts. The program not only provides young men with the skills set to be successful academically, but it also provides them with the skills necessary to succeed in life. Highlighting the importance of the mind, body, and spirit connection, Mr. Mendenhall equips students with a tangible foundation upon which they can build in the future. I highly recommend this program."
- Beulah McLoyd, Principal Walter H. Dyett High School for the Arts; Chicago, IL
Well I'd like to start off by first and foremost thanking you, Coach Mendenhall for everything you've done. You have been a huge part of all the success I had in high school on and off the field. On the field you taught me to be an intense competitor who truly believed our group of running backs was the best in the state. Your belief in us allowed for us to also believe in ourselves and gain confidence. And for that I am truly grateful because confidence is so crucial when it comes to football and life. Off the field you told stories about life and helped me to realize that everyone is dealing with something, however it's how you react to those situations that defines your character. eeing you come out smiling every day and enthused to be alive opened my eyes and I realized that this life is what your make it. Own your own happiness.
Oshayne Brown 21, Former Student Niles North H.S. Current Running back North Central College
“In the first session, our students were shocked that they were speaking to someone who played in the NFL and they wanted to focus solely on how he made it, but Mr. Mendenhall used this interest as a catalyst into pushing our student’s thinking about success. While in sessions he asked them questions about who they are and their purpose in life is. Many of our students were not able to respond since these were questions they never considered. When they tried to make light of the questions he pushed their thinking and opened the conversation for powerful dialogue and reflection. Our students participated in multiple Lunch and Learn sessions as well as the Male Seminar Series. Our young men learned about life, the choices they make, the friendships they build and how all these parts impact their future. These conversations led them one step closer to becoming more focused, determined, and mindful of their actions. As a school community, we are truly thankful for the support he has given the young men of the Austin neighborhood and members of the Lewis family.”
Aquabah Gonney Principal; Lewis School of Excellence; Chicago, IL
“I was touched and inspired by the positive seeds you have sown in these young men. Please be assured of our gratitude for your leadership here, and congratulations on a successful conclusion.”
- Edmund Siderewicz, Director of External Relations, Catalyst School Network; Chicago, IL
“Thank you for speaking to our leadership class. Your Enthusiasm and dedication to your “why” motivated me to stay focused on my “why” and to be enthused about it. You helped me find the fire within me and reignited it! “
- Janice Palson , The South Dakota Leadership Academy at Mitchell Technical Institute
“Walter Mendenhall’s Four Phases of Leadership workshop was galvanizing! He really pushed our fellows to critically contemplate their personal definitions of leadership and transparently discuss how their perceptions of leaders around them could help define and mold them as future healthcare professionals. His leadership curriculum was relevant and applicable to a wide variety of professionals, students, and leaders. Walter’s charismatic presentation coupled with his tangible tips for improving leadership style ultimately helps an individual figure out how to stand out in this increasingly competitive world. We were grateful for this workshop experience!”
- Shaneah Taylor,
ChicagoCHEC Research Fellows Program Director and Research Manager Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
"Walter Mendenhall is an extremely driven and accomplished young man. Not only did he climb to the pinnacle of professional football but he has also continued to excel academically, earning his Master’s Degree, and currently working on his Ph.D while many believed he didn't have what it took to be a scholar. Walter is an inspiration to me and so many others of how far a person can go and how much a person can accomplish through their faith, their drive, and their determination to be successful. Having worked with Walter over the last 4 years, I know he possesses all of these character traits."
-Ray McElroy - Former 11 year NFL Player and Chaplain. Corporate Motivational speaker, founder and president - A Ray of Hope on Earth
The Leadership Pathways program at NEIU strives to strengthen personal leadership ability among our students. Walter has shown to be an invaluable asset to the team as he designs lessons and facilitates weekly classroom discussion. His professional background and high school coaching experience offers insight to developing leaders at NEIU!
-Elvis Guzman, Coordinator Student Leadership Development
Northeastern Illinois University
"Walter is a passionate speaker an extraordinary man of God whose witness to the University of Illinois Football Team was life changing. It was incredible to see God bring his journey full circle as he shared of his experiences having been right where those student-athletes are. These young men and this team were powerfully impacted by is story and as a result many are growing in their walk of faith!"
-Justin Neally, Chaplain University of Illinois Football Team
Walter is a special guy! He is a compassionate leader with a heart for people. I have seen Walter Compete at the highest level of sports and his drive to succeed is inspiring. This is a man with a heart to love God and to love people.
Marcellus Casey, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Metro Kansas City Multi-Area Director
Mr. Mendenhall was able to talk to the kids and draw them into his story. He talked to them at their level which is hard to do for a middle school kid. He used his personal background to engage and inspire the students. He was extremely professional and easy to work with. He seemed to tailored the presentation to our specific needs. I would highly recommend him. Positive, Inspirational, Professional, Personable and down to earth. I look forward to working with him again in the future.
I had the pleasure of inviting Walter to speak at our National Youth Conference (National Inspirational Youth Convention - NIYC) in Chicago, IL in December of 2013. The NIYC boasts an average audience size of 800-1,000 attendees annually. Over the course of the three day event Walter was one of our featured plenary session leaders presenting each evening to a group of 250 youth between the ages of 12-24 years of age on leadership, making good life choices and the importance of realizing their potential and doing everything in their power to be the best version of themselves. His energy was infectious and the youth were quickly drawn to him as he was extremely relatable and brutally honest while being authentic to who he is and the message he was there to deliver. He was extremely professional and refreshingly flexible throughout the planning process and during the conference. I would highly recommend booking him.
-Michelle M. NYIC Planning Committee
Walter did such an outstanding job at our ceremony. Our senior class chose him out of many candidates to speak to the class and families about life and purpose during their high school baccalaureate ceremony. Afterward, many of the students told me how awesome his speech was, and how they really got his message. They we're truly glad to have had someone like Walter come speak to them. Someone who has experienced such a range of what life has to offer. Thanks again, Walter!
-Ms. B. Principal Old Orchard Jr. High School
Walter Mendenhall had just what our teens needed. His straight forward, honest approach to teen sexuality was right on point. He wasn't afraid to share his past mistakes with the group. He shared how he did not let his mistakes define him, but instead used them to become a better man with a purpose in life. His metaphors gave a great visual to help get his points across. When asked, the teen's comments were, appreciated his honesty, expressed how brave he was in sharing his past , nice to hear from an adult other than their parents and glad he came to speak. On a personal note: having a teen at home that was struggling with sexual peer pressure Walter's talk came at a perfect time. My teen walked away with some insight and a better understanding that her sexuality is a gift not to squander.
-Heidi R. Holy Family Catholic Church Inverness, IL