Skip to main content

Daughter-Mother Mentors Create Space for their MGP Family: Sommer & Jacci Woods

Sommer Woods and her mother Jacci Woods have a combined 13 years of mentoring with the Midnight Golf Program.

Together, they’ve logged more than 6,000 volunteer hours, attending the twice-weekly school-year program; bonding with students on the Road Trip for Success college tour; answering midnight calls and texts from MGP alum; and attending countless college graduations.

But the impact they’ve had on the young women and men they’ve worked with is much more than numbers. Sommer, who is in her 10th year of mentoring and is the vice president for external affairs for M-1 Rail , has a number of young people who are like an extension of her family. Her first mentee, who she met in 2008, is currently finishing up a doctoral program in biochemistry, and Sommer has been with her every step of the way – through the ups and downs of college, financial issues, grades, stress, anxiety, and a pregnancy and single motherhood midway through her studies.

Sommer considers her like a daughter; the young woman had been raised by her grandparents, in fact, due to challenges with her parents. Sommer is beyond proud of this young woman’s stamina.

“I have young people who have a lot of grit, who have overcome a lot of obstacles, and they continue to show that they have the determination and perseverance to see it through,” says Sommer.

Jacci, in her third year of mentoring and vice president of public relations and community affairs at MotorCity Casino Hotel, has been surprised by those she has mentored, particularly two 2018 graduates who were introverts and originally hard to connect with. Yet, they are the ones who reach out most to Jacci now. They turn to her in crisis and share their stresses and accomplishments as they stumble through their first semesters at college. Another mentee has asked Jacci to attend her graduation, even though it’s years ahead. And she plans to be there.

“It’s the young people and their curiosity, optimism, and willingness to listen and learn,” says Jacci. “It’s refreshing.”

While she doesn’t have her own grads to boast about yet, Jacci has witnessed the long-term outcomes of MGP through Sommer’s experiences. “Vicariously, I feel the sense of success and accomplishment because of the time that Sommer’s committed to helping her young people overcome adversity and come out on the other side.”

Seeing the results that Midnight Golf brings to the lives of young people is motivation enough for the mother-daughter Woods team, who plan to tally hundreds of hours more mentoring in 2019.