CANTON, Ohio — At just 26 years old, Justin Lepley has accomplished a lot. His most recent achievements include opening two plant stores.

Now, he’s giving back to the next generation of young entrepreneurs through mentoring.  

What You Need To Know

  • MentorStark is a program that has a goal to advance the mentoring movement in Stark County

  • MentorStark provides a website that acts as a hub for people to find mentoring opportunities, whether they want to be a mentor or find a mentor

  • The program helps mentoring programs collect and report consistent and evidence-based data about the impact they are having on the mentors and young people they serve

"I get so much more from going into the classroom and talking with the students than what I am giving," Lepley said. "The energy they have and their excitement, their enthusiasm, it really fills my cup, so to speak.”

Lepley volunteers through the Junior Achievement Company program at Glenn Oak High School in Canton.

He helps them create and bring real products to market.

"You start a business with just an idea and a team, and to bring something to market, there is no way to replicate that in a text book or in any other fashion so it is really cool, and you learn so much more in the struggles than in the triumphs.”

Paul Webb is one of the students the Lepley mentors. He said having a mentor in school helped him succeed.

"I had kind of a rough upbringing," Webb explained. "I didn’t really have the motivation to do well in school. I believe my freshman year, I had like a 2.4 GPA, and then once I really started to get involved in junior achievement, my mentor Justin came in, and I actually had people around me who seemed to think I had a bright future and that just gave me the motivation to do my homework, to do well in class, and pay attention, and I ended up with a 3.4 GPA.”

Webb said that the mentoring program not only helped him achieve academically, but it changed his life for the better.

“I wasn’t always comfortable talking to people, and I realized he was out there for my best interest and so just mentoring really made me who I am today.”

Lepley suggests getting involved with mentoring, no matter what stage of life you are in.