May 5 • 23M

Building a mentor program for students, with Kimbo Bohannon

Kimbo Bohannon founded nonprofit Buddy/Mentor in 2014 to provide one-on-one mentorships for underserved elementary school students

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Lindsey Banks
We talk with Charlotte leaders about important and interesting issues, with an eye toward making you smarter, telling you things you don’t know and introducing you to people with insights about trends in Charlotte.
Episode details

In 1994, Kimbo Bohannon was an educator in an underserved community in Connecticut. As a physical education teacher, she saw over 500 students throughout the week. They were her kids, she says, even more than her students.

She wanted to do more for them, but she needed resources. She tapped into her network of friends from the community and her church, and she found a free meeting space. She and her friends began mentoring eight students each week for a year.

The next year, they grew to 16 one-on-one mentorships. The following year, they had 32.

Kimbo moved to Charlotte in 2012 and decided to continue the mentorship program. In 2014, she officially founded Buddy/Mentor, a nonprofit mentoring program for elementary students. She has since retired from her 27-year career in teaching.

In this episode of The Charlotte Ledger Podcast, Bohannon discusses:

  • How she grew Buddy/Mentor into what it is today.

  • What services Buddy/Mentor provides to its participants.

  • Her anti-racism work and becoming an ally.

  • The importance of students knowing someone is cheering them on.

  • How she builds relationships in the community.

Bohannon received The Ledger’s 40 Over 40 Award in 2020 for her work with Buddy/Mentor. She volunteers at other nonprofits, and her nominator said: “Kim is an inspiration and a beacon of light who does not ask to be recognized.”

This podcast episode is part of a series highlighting winners of The Ledger’s 40 Over 40 awards, which honor and celebrate often unheralded people over the age of 40 who are making impactful contributions to Charlotte. It’s hosted by Steve Dunn of Miles Mediation and Arbitration.

Find out more about the 40 Over 40 awards by going to

We hope you enjoy the conversation with Kimbo Bohannon.

The Charlotte Ledger Podcast is produced by Lindsey Banks.

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