The Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau founded the Travel & Sports Legacy Foundation (TSLF), a nonprofit organization, to help underserved youth and adult students through job training, scholarships, mentoring and internship placement for tourism jobs, and to aid as a talent pipeline for tourism employers.
Mark Amin was one of the first recipients of the scholarship, awarded to him as a culinary arts honor student at Tarrant County College’s Southeast Campus in 2020-2021.
Amin credits the TSLF Milestones Mentoring Program as well as the subsequent Open Door Mentoring Program as keys to his success.
Amin was paired with Dr. Nathanial “Coach” Hearne, known to many as one of the inspirations behind “Friday Night Lights”. Hearne and his wife Callie Williams Hearne are both certified trainers and life coaches who work with students in this program.
“He somehow has the magic to make you feel reflective about what exactly you want to do, where you exactly want to go, and he will take you there in your imagination,” said Amin of his mentor, Dr. Hearne. Amin, his wife, and his young son continue to interact with the Hearnes, something he truly values.
The program was developed by Mary German, Chief Operating Officer of the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau and TSLF’s Founder.
“During the development of the program, it was important to find mentors who have worked with students and whose body of work has successfully impacted students’ lives,” said German. Dr. Nate and Coach Callie Hearne have worked with students in many academic environments and have decades of educational experience.
The mentoring programs were developed during the height of the pandemic to help students navigate through a difficult period. Today, the TSLF mentoring programs continue to serve as an invaluable resource for students.
There are many additional layers to the work that TSLF is doing for Arlington youth and adult students. Their programs are offered primarily to students in public high schools, public community colleges, and four-year universities. TSLF connects the community with careers, tourism businesses with talent, and the tourism industry with a stronger future.
Mark is one of many success stories of this program, which is just a little over five years old.
“Mark’s success is an affirmation that our mentoring programs are helping to prepare students for travel and tourism careers,” said German.
TSLF has had many generous donors and educational and tourism partners, ensuring its success now and moving forward.
For Amin, it made a difference for his future. A natural leader and a people person, Amin is loving his work at Homewood Suites, and he is eager to see how his career continues to unfold. He is quick to help others in their careers as well, recently agreeing to chair an alumni group for former scholarship recipients.
“If I don’t give back to society, to other people, then what’s the point?” said Amin, humbly.