SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – People here in Springfield impacting the community, one step at a time. A 5K ‘run & walk’ was held at Western New England University on Saturday to support a local youth mentorship organization.

The event was meant to raise awareness for the need of mentorship programs in underserved communities.

Kashawn Sanders, CEO, President and Co-Founder of the mentorship foundation “Follow My Steps”, spoke from experience. He told 22News, “It’s something that we know youth and under-resourced communities struggle with. I was one of those youth. Throughout different initiatives like running and understanding the importance of healthy eating, I was able to change things around.”

Follow My Steps offers youth mentoring, career and skill development, and even financial resources to children and families in western Massachusetts. Some hoping they can help make the path to success more clear for others.

“We just want to be an encouraging force,” said Shawn Lockett, a member of the Executive Board of Follow My Steps. “A lot of kids don’t have those parental motivators in the household, so if we can step in and do that, that’s why we’re here.”

Others hoping to inspire kids and young adults to be leaders in their community.

Tyrone Williams, Co-Founder and Vice President of the foundation, explained the importance of being mentored by people who look the same as you.

“It’s super important to see someone that looks like you, that speaks like you, that thinks like you, that dresses like you, that can relate to you. That’s the thing right? If you can see it then you can believe it,” he said.

To learn more about Follow My Steps foundation, click here.