(DETROIT) WXYZ - It may look like just restaurant small talk between friends, but the regular exchange these young men have with Shawn Blanchard has made a huge impact in the lives of these young men.
"This is just what organically happens. This is just what I do. I identify young men that want to be better and I assist them in getting there
It all began with Blanchard getting himself there.
The 34-year-old Mentor Specialist was born with crack cocaine in his system and had 7 brothers, 3 who are deceased, and another 3 that have been in prison.
He graduated from McKenzie High School and then a special someone opened the door for him.
"Not many people from my high school went on to the University of Michigan, but I was fortunate to have a mentor in my life at that time named Ms. Champion. Because of her, I found a path, and because of her, I want to make sure I can spread my wings and do the same."
Even with a giant in his life, Steven Wallace connected with Shawn during a time that his father was incarcerated.
He's now a University of Michigan student with his sights set on the Supreme Court one day. His father Dennis calls Shawn the glue in their relationship.
"I still was struggling with some things and the forgiveness from being gone. When Shawn came aboard he helped kind of like a glue to help us bond together."
And how about that for a crack baby. The cover of his book says it all.
Shawn also touches lives inside the classroom by teaching math seasonally at the U of M.
He has also received the President's Volunteer Service Award and, most recently, named one of America's 2017 Top 35 Millennial Influencers, among other accolades.
But hearing praise from his mentees is his greatest achievement.
So for giving the gift that just keeps on giving, Shawn Blanchard you are our Person of the Week.