A Leader Worth Noting

My mentee Foluke has always been a team player and a hidden gem behind the scenes in the LGBTQ+ community at John Jay and in my program Q’onnections. I like to showcase Foluke a little bit with my post because I believe fully in his work and I want nothing more than for the world to see this gem at work.

Foluke started as chief of staff within spectra (The John Jay lgbtq+ club), and while he is still in that role, he has currently gone on to work with John Jay productions. In addition, he co-founded a non-for-profit called Revolution Mental that combines mental health advocacy, education, and a safe space for students and planning to start a mentoring program plus other mental health advocacy projects.

Foluke was also part of the first-ever cohort of Q’onnections, spectra’s queer mentoring program. Now Foluke is returning as a mentor for the second official cohort under John Jay’s Center For Student Involvement.

I decided to sit down with Foluke and get more information about his journey here at John Jay; here is what he had to say.

My journey at John Jay has been an interesting one. Transferring to John Jay last fall amid the pandemic to endure another year of online learning was something I was not looking forward to. Unfortunately, like many, 2020 was probably one of the worst years I’ve lived through and experienced despite the immense darkness, bleakness, and lost hope. Yet, there were a few glimmers of light that somehow kept me going. One was joining spectra. After reluctantly attending the involvement fair that year and honestly not wanting to be there, Looking back, I’m happy I did. During the fair, Sams’ energy and vibe ultimately drew me into a loving community that feels like a home full of excellent and various walks of life and experiences. I have made unique connections and relationships through spectra, and I wouldn’t change for the world. Through the involvement fair, I was also drawn to another club, JJ Productions, since I create music but wanted to learn the ins and outs of music production Shoutout to Artem for his intriguing presentation and background that day. As well as to Artem and Daniel for teaching me everything they know. I appreciate both of you.

Through Sam and spectra, I became involved in Q’onnections as a mentee, a common theme of hesitancy and reluctancy begins. I joined about a month into the program’s beginning. Although late to the party, being a part of Q’onncetions honestly couldn’t have come at a better time. My mentee experience occurred during my first semester here at John Jay. During this time, I was heavily defeated due to COVID, watching the world burn, and being involved in frequent turmoil. In addition to feeling very lost in life and struggling to figure out and truly accept who I am. Which I still struggle with from time to time, but thanks to Q’onncetions, that picture is slowly coming along and becoming transparent. So thank you, Sam. I truly appreciate you!

Returning to Q’onncetions as a mentor this semester is something I’m very excited about. Returning to and giving back to a program that has done and provided a lot for me, plus being able to help students like myself, is tremendous. To my mentees, you all are amazing, and I can’t wait to begin/continue our journey together. Although I’m very excited to return to Q’onnections. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. Honestly, that sentiment can be applied to everything I’ve done here at John Jay. I never thought I would be in any of these positions, let alone starting a non-profit organization. After Q’onnections, I became an executive and served as the treasurer for JJ Productions. Once again, becoming a treasurer was met with immense hesitation and took a lot of convincing by those around me to do it. I was very reluctant because I am a huge perfectionist and very fearful of messing anything up. But as their treasurer for about two years now, it has been an interesting ride, to say the least.

To speak on my project a little, Revolution Mental began as a project within my Social Entrepreneurship 101 class during the 2021 Spring semester. The course was structured in which we, the students, select a social issue we are passionate about and want to reform. So my four other partners and I decided on Mental Health as our realm of focus. This in itself, albeit stressful, was a wonderful adventure to embark on, from conducting interviews with a multitude of experts within the field to deciding what products and services to provide, conducting and compiling research, website design, and more. Revolution Mental aims to provide mental health education and incorporate advocacy, awareness, support, and safe spaces for students. The plan is now to develop this further and spread this as far as I can. Built by students for students, feel free to check it out if you would like.

It truly surprises me from an introverted, quiet, and reserved kid to a still introverted but more outspoken individual. Honestly, everything I’ve done here up to this point has been an enormous surprise; frankly, I never saw myself becoming that kind of person or doing the things I am doing, but look at where we are today. But, of course, I couldn’t do it without many’s guidance, support, and love.

With this being my final semester, what is next for me? I’m not 100 percent sure. But I plan to attend grad school for either clinical or forensic mental health counseling. When will that happen? I have no clue, but hopefully, it will occur sooner than later. Additionally, I plan to get my other mental health advocacy projects off the ground while furthering Revolution Mental.

All in all, my two-year journey here has been life-altering, and I wouldn’t change anything. Thank you to everyone who aided and supported me along the way. You are all amazing. Thank you, to my spectra family, for all their support throughout everything, plus giving me this opportunity, and thank you all for reading.

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