Originally founded by Dena Petty as an unincorporated non-profit association in the fall of 2009, Movement Toward a Future Incorporated is now a tax-exempt, Texas non-profit corporation doing business as “Mentors Care”.

Mentors Care imbeds itself in the schools it serves and works closely with administrators, teachers, parents and the community to match high school students who are at risk of not graduating with caring and successful adults, who challenge and encourage them to believe in themselves and to reach beyond and overcome the obstacles that may be holding them back and keeping them from achieving academic success, and to help them cultivate the study habits, self-discipline and determination necessary to do so.

Mentors Care targets underserved high schools in areas where the unique needs of at risk students are all too often overlooked or neglected, and find little or no social services to help support their academic studies.

With the consent of the participating students’ parents or legal guardians, school administrators allow Mentors Care’s Program Coordinators access to participating students’ grades and other protected student data and information for Mentors Care’s use in helping to encourage and better ensure the students’ performance and progress. By simply showing students that it cares and is willing to commit its time, emotions and efforts into to helping participating students overcome the obstacles that might otherwise stand in their way, Mentors Care helps them find the strength, discipline and character within themselves that’s necessary to overcome them.


Mentors Care Works and we can prove it!

We have statistical data to prove that after the first year of mentoring, our at-risk students close the educational gap with their peers

90%! Since 2009, at-risk seniors projected not to graduate, GRADUATED!

70% of at-risk students participating in Mentors Care, earned more credits than the previous year without a mentor.

51% of at-risk students received community assistance because of their participation in Mentors Care. This aids a student in being more successful in school due to meeting needs such as food, clothing, housing, etc.

“To laugh is to risk appearing a fool. To weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out for another is to risk involvement. To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self. To place your ideas, your dreams, before the crowd, is to risk their loss. To love is to risk not being loved in return. To live is to risk dying. To hope is to risk despair. To try is to risk failure. But the risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing. He/She may avoid suffering and sorrow, but she/he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live. Chained by his/her certitudes, she/he is a slave, he/she has forfeited her/his freedom. Only a person who risks is free.”

Dena Petty

President and Executive Director

Married to Todd Petty for 30 years, son Bryce Petty, NFL QB for New York Jets, daughter Lexie Petty, student athlete at UTTyler Attended Louisiana Tech University, studied fine art and interior design, played on the Lady Golf team. Played on the Future’s Professional Golf Tour for two years. Youth Pastor of Cabot United Methodist Church 1999-2005 Created and implemented the Movement Toward a Future DBA Mentors Care mentoring program in 2009 – present


Mentors Care’s mission is to provide at-risk high school students mentors, tools, and resources in school districts throughout the State of Texas and beyond. Mentors Care will promote itself to school districts which are historically underserved, then work with the school district to enlist, train and equip volunteer mentors to care about – and to believe in – the kids they serve.


Connecting at-risk high school students with adult volunteers to mentor the student to graduation and purposeful life.


We have a population of students in our high schools considered to be at-risk. A student considered at-risk is a student that is on track of not graduating. The reasons are varied; homeless, impoverished, poor support system, failed classes in previous years, poor attendance, incarcerated parents, single parent homes, peer pressure and bad decisions.

Sometimes a student can get off track even if they have loving adults in their life. Mentors Care will partner with those and support them with a loving adult matched with their child. If a student does not have positive adult role models in their life, the student is in real risk of not graduating and having a future. Mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter.

Research confirms that quality mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on young people in a variety of personal, academic, and their future. Ultimately, mentoring connects a young person to personal growth and development, and social and economic opportunity. Yet one in three young people will grow up without this critical asset.

Young Adults Who Were At-Risk for Falling Off Track But Had a Mentor Are:

More likely to enroll in college

Are interested in becoming a mentor

More likely to volunteer regularly

More likely to hold leadership positions


  • In addition to better school attendance and a better chance of going on to higher education, mentored youth maintain better attitudes toward school. (The Role of Risk, 2013)
  • Students who meet regularly with their mentors are 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school and 37% less likely to skip a class. (Public/Private Ventures study of Big Brothers Big Sisters)