All posts tagged: mentoring

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Mentoring: A great way to pay it forward & share what you know

I strongly believe in the power of mentoring and have written about it on a few occasions. I’ve profiled the Latino BIGS of NYC program as well as touched upon what it’s meant in my own life. Being involved in the development of our youth has been a personal mission since I was in my 20s and it has truly affected my life. So when the opportunity arose to get involved in another program, I jumped at the chance. The Spark Program didn’t disappoint and I got to meet an aspiring young, Latina writer, Adaleyna. For eight weeks Adelayna came to my office for two hours during which time she would job shadow me. Because my job consisted of some pretty mundane duties, I tried to break it up by taking that time to take a coffee or lunch break so we could discuss real writing. I even had the opportunity to introduce her to my published writer friend, Ulises Silva of Digital Decaf (soon to be renamed) blog. During the student’s time in the program they’re required …

With my family at my college graduation

From high school dropout to strong (and educated) Latina

It was January of 19*cough, cough*.  It was my 18th birthday. While the rest of my senior class was in their respective classes anxiously awaiting spring and all of the pomp and circumstance that prom and graduation would bring, I was making my way to my locker.  I had made a decision that would change the rest of my life.  I was dropping out.  I got to my locker, removed my personal items walked out of the building and never looked back.  I got my GED just a few months later but then settled into a life of mediocrity.  I had officially become a statistic. As I think about it now, so many years later, I wonder how it was possible that I could become a statistic.  I was one of the smartest kids in my class most of my academic career.  I was quiet, never made trouble, earned perfect grades, and countless honors.  At what point in my life did that all turn around? I can’t actually pinpoint the exact moment because it was …

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How a 3rd grader changed my life

Although I spent my teenage years participating in volunteer projects at church and school, the story of how I became a passionate advocate for volunteer work didn’t begin until I was a young adult. In 1995, at the age of 24 my place of employment offered any interested employee the opportunity to spend three hours of the work week tutoring children at nearby elementary schools. I jumped at the chance partly because I enjoyed working with children, but mostly because it was three hours I could spend away from the office. I was assigned to a third grade class at a school in a low-income neighborhood. I remember clearly how nervous I was walking in to a classroom full of students. Their inquiring stares and not-so-hushed whispers curious to know about this stranger in their midst, only served to make me more nervous.  My mind raced with thoughts, “What was I doing here?  What had I gotten myself into?”  I was introduced and immediately assigned a student to take into the hall to begin tutoring. …