Marine Gunnery Sergeant Tawanda “Tee” Hanible is an Iraq War vet, but some of the toughest battles she’s fought were on the streets of Chicago as a teenager. “I didn’t think my family understood me,” she recalls. “I acted out in so many wrong ways.”
Her adoptive mother sent a teenage Tee off to a military school run by the National Guard. After Hanible graduated, she followed her brother into the Marines. Still on active duty, Hanible has been stationed at Quantico since 2011. She’d previously volunteered in every community where she’d served, including as a Big Sister, and planned to look for similar opportunities in Virginia, but of the mentoring programs she contacted, one had a yearlong wait for volunteers and another charged the families it worked with. So Hanible started her own.