Mass Mentoring Partnership and the Highland Street AmeriCorps Ambassadors of Mentoring hosted the 10th annual Youth Mentoring Day at the State House on January 21. This year's theme was The Mentoring Movement: The Road to Relationships. During the program, the Ambassadors of Mentoring highlighted four examples of how mentoring and empowering youth-adult relationships affect so many lives. Here is one of those stories:
The mission of the mentoring movement is to empower adults to engage youth in positive and supportive relationships. In Lawrence, Massachusetts, Chica Project has been helping to fuel this movement for the past five years. The difficulties prevalent in an urban community are well documented. Most of these obstacles and drawbacks are in full evidence in Lawrence. There are youth and adults alike that succumb to these problems. Then there are those who flourish and persevere despite their surroundings. These individuals become our community’s mentors for the upcoming generation, in hopes of paying it forward enough to inspire and awaken our youth’s inner truth.
As described by her mentee, Lissandra Lopez has a personality that steals hearts. She is silly, fun loving and compassionate. Being a mentor with Chica Project has given Lissandra the ability to connect to her roots. As a Lawrence native, becoming a mentor did not just serve as personal satisfaction for Lissandra, but it also connected her to a network of women across the state. Today, Lissandra serves on Chica Project’s Board of Directors. Her dedication to mentorship has led to collaboration and a mission that serves Latinas statewide.
Natalia Castillo, Lissandra’s mentee, came to the Chica Project three years ago with a dream of getting into medical school. Natalia is a determined individual who has grown and developed into an exceptional young woman. Her inquisitive nature has pushed everyone at Chica Project to think outside the building and expand the possibilities for all girls. Natalia is grateful she has someone to visit colleges with, someone to re-read her essays and connect her to professionals in the medical field. Mentorship has instilled in Natalia an urgency to network, reach for her goals and build meaningful positive relationships.
In Lissandra and Natalia's efforts to pay it forward and serve others, they have discovered the power of the mentoring movement. It’s a movement of interconnectedness that propels an infinite amount of positive change and hope for our future generations.