The Mentors Care Message Has Found a New Medium


Midlothian, TX – April 15, 2020

By Rob Price

The Mentors Care message has found a new medium.

The high school mentoring program went live with The Mentors Care Podcast yesterday April 14. The bi-monthly show will be hosted by Dena Petty, the organization’s founder and executive director. Development Coordinator Summer Backstrom will co-host the podcast alongside Petty.

The Mentors Care Podcast is hosted on the Buzzsprout podcast platform ( but will also be available on all major podcast directories including Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, Pandora, and TuneIn/Alexa. The podcast is produced by Media 21, a local digital media company in Midlothian, Texas.

Using an interview format, each episode will feature amazing stories from the mentors themselves, school officials, community leaders, business owners as well as parents, and former students who previously participated in the program. 

“We have launched our first three episodes on the same release date on April 14 to offer listeners a ‘mini-binge’ opportunity to really check out our content,” said Petty. “We want to give our Mentors Care, family, a good taste of what we plan to do for them.”

The first episode features just the two hosts as Backstrom interviews Petty about how and why she started Mentors Care in 2009. The second show brings in Ferris HS Principal Andru Gilbert who raved about the impact of Mentors Care after just one year on his campus. The third episode is a family chat between Petty and her son Bryce who was a star quarterback at Baylor University (2012-2014) and went on to play four years in the NFL (New York Jets and Miami Dolphins). 

Bryce was one of the first mentors tapped by Dena to help launch the program during its infancy. “That was my first time to mentor,” (Bryce) Petty said to his mother during the interview. “I remember saying I’m not qualified for this at all but kudos to you and the program. I had the talking points and it spurs on the conversation, and then you just kind of let them take it from there.” 

He also explains why he felt led to have a mentor himself during his college experience and describes the unique differences between parenting and mentoring.  

The launch of the Mentors Care podcast fell on opening day (April 14) for early giving for North Texas Giving Tuesday Now. The regional non-profit initiative is slated to aid other non-profit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 national pandemic through May 5. The drive is a collaborative emergency response coordinated by the Communities Foundation of Texas, North Texas Giving Day, the Dallas Cowboys, and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. 

Members of the community who wish to make a contribution to the relief effort are encouraged to visit

To make a contribution to Mentors Care as part of the #NTxGivingTuesdayNow campaign, visit

“Thinking outside the box is now more than ever a great strategy to tackle what life has thrown at us,” (Dena) Petty said. “We acted quickly putting together a plan of action for how Mentors Care can continue to best serve our districts and students.” 

According to Petty, a majority of the program’s students will likely not have the support or resources they will need during the pandemic. Many students in the Mentors Care program are among Ellis County’s nearly 60% of youth considered to be “economically disadvantaged.” Compounding the challenge are Petty’s research indicators that Mentors Care students are often limited in receiving proper guidance from a caring adult in reaching academic and social-emotional goals. 

“By launching a podcast, we hope to inspire our communities to seek ways to serve our most vulnerable members,” (Dena) Petty said. “So leveraging the miracle of technology we will continue to mentor from a distance as we inspire action, hope, and a future.” After the pandemic passes, the podcast will live on, with fresh episodes twice a month.

Beyond the first three episodes, Backstrom says the show’s producers will have several key members of the local Ellis County on the podcast including John Houston (founder of John Houston Custom Homes and philanthropist), Charlie Hubbard (AT&T’s VP of Field Services Midwest), Leslie Deen (Executive Director of Ellis County Children’s Advocacy Center), Sarah Martin (Mentors Care Coordinator at Midlothian High School), and several former high school students of the Mentors Care program.

Mentors Care is a non-profit organization that implements a proven method of mentoring students at risk of not graduating high school. Its volunteers are trained to encourage action, hope and a future for every student who participates in Mentors Care.

For more information about how to support Mentors Care or how to become part

of the Mentors Care family, contact us at or visit