Washington County Attorney’s Office—2017 Annual Report 20 Mentorship Program African American Male Mentorship Program The African American Male Mentorship Program was started in 2015. At various events the young men hear from a variety of speakers who shared their stories of their background, how they chose their profession, what it takes to be successful in their various fields of work and how the students could improve their opportunities in adult life by the actions they take now. Many of the speakers were African American and it was poignant to see many of these young men make major shifts in their vision of what they thought they could do with their lives. On May 17, 2017, Pete Orput, Brent Wartner and Tony Zdroik attended the 4th annual year end celebration of the Tazel Institute’s African American student education program at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve. Over a hundred students from seven area high schools in and around Washington County participated in the program and attended the celebration. On December 13, 2017 the Washington County Attorney’s Office in partnership with the Tazel Institute hosted about 75 students and teachers from Eagan, Rosemount, Apple Valley, East View, Woodbury, East Ridge and Cottage Grove high schools for a day of educational training for African American male students with a goal of exposing the students to career opportunities in the criminal justice system. Students were introduced to the daily work experience of a prosecutor’s office and the important function that each employee has in seeking justice on behalf of the community. In addition, guest speakers provided motivational examples of how commitment and dedication can allow disadvantaged students to gain access to higher education and become successful in pursing their dreams. During this day-long event, students had an opportunity to meet with trial attorneys in different areas of the office and learned about the basic steps involved in the prosecution of a criminal case. The students also learned how the county attorney must work and collaborate with victims, law enforcement and the community to find justice. Guest presenters included Dr. Raj Sethuraju (Metro State University), Alexander Hines (University of Minnesota), Dominick Mathews (Hennepin County Attorney’s Office) and Assistant Washington County Attorney Thomas Harmon. In addition, representatives from Property Records and Taxpayer Services and from the Washington County Library talked with the students about voter registration and library card services. Participating youth are encouraged to support one another in making positive life decisions and to develop a network of mentors in governmental agencies and the business community for future career opportunities.