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For Black History Month, NewsOne honors GAME CHANGERS: Everyday heroes whose actions make life better for the people around them. SEE ALL OUR GAME CHANGERS HERE.

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Zachary Hawkins

Place of Residence: New Jersey

Why He’s a Game Changer: Hawkins, 49,  is the founder and President of Ten2One Group, a youth mentoring and leadership development organization that caters to at-risk youth.

Hawkins knows what it’s like to be at-risk. As a young kid his mother suffered from long-term depression and his dad was incarcerated. Hawkins had various forces– some good, some evil– tugging at him.

“What I remember the most is how confused I was. I had this desire to do things and move forward but I just felt this strong pull of gravity, the circumstance not being as bright,” said Hawkins. “I was really, really confused and there were lots of different directions I could have gone in. Through mentors and being exposed to different things I was able to come out of that experience.”

Hawkins went on to a successful career in corporate America. But thinking about his own experience he knew there was more he could be doing to help people who were in the predicament he once was. He wrote a book aimed at single mothers called “Statistics to Success: 4 Priorities Single Mothers can Champion When Raising Boys Alone.”

The book talks to mothers about how to create a path to success for their sons by focusing on self-development, developing healthy relationships, making the most of every opportunity and envisioning future victories.

But that wasn’t enough and Hawkins and his wife Karen launched Ten2One Group.

“What would it be like if I were able to  build a process, a scalable process that can help tons and tons of young men and women who are in the same type of situation or scenario that I was in. Can we somehow develop a process that creates a cycle of success?” asked Hawkins.

After growing up in the once tough Oak Cliff section of Dallas, Hawkins knew that adults who took an interest in him had made a difference in his life.

“A crucial part of my growth and development into the person I am today was guided by the support of teachers, coaches and mentors who sat me down and pushed me to lay out a plan and set concrete goals for accomplishing them,” said Hawkins.

“Years later, as an adult well into my career, and now a father, husband and mentor to others, I reflected on how vastly different my life could have been had these figures not taken on such a prominent role in my life at the most pivotal stage in my development.-5

Ten2One has created the framework to connect young people with mentors who help their charges create a “personal success plan.”

“An architect would never build a building without a blueprint, right? A business would not survive without some type of planning. What we are looking to do with the personal success plan is make sure that everyone spends the amount of time with themselves and with a coach or mentor to outline what they want to achieve and  track it,” said Hawkins.

And like Hawkins has done, those young people who have benefited from mentorship will then turn around and help others, launching a cycle of success.

“My personal view on leadership is that you are able to help someone else see their value and their worth…and their potential, so much so that they start to believe it about themselves,” said Hawkins. “We have to be really good at helping others see the best of themselves.”

Ten2One has plans to launch nationally next month and Hawkins wants to use technology and social media to create a global mentoring network.

“It feels like I’ve finally stepped into my vision, I’ve finally stepped into who I should become, I finally now have a sense and understand what I’ve been prepared for. It feels like now I can truly begin my assignment,” said Hawkins.

Check out how Ten2One is working in the lives of young people below:

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