Stories

You did it! Mentoring Month Success

 

Looking ahead with bright eyes and a smile, first grade student Ricardo patiently sat at the kitchen table waiting for his newest friend to come through the front door. This was no ordinary friend – this was Robert, Ricardo’s new mentor. As his new mentor entered, Ricardo’s smile froze in place as he stared at Robert in awe.

 

Only weeks before, Ricardo eagerly asked Casa’s mentoring director, Mr. Jose, several questions about this exciting new mentor he’d soon meet:

 

“Mr. Jose, what’s his name? What does he look like? Is he tall or short? Does he like to play? What does he like to do?” asked Ricardo, barely scratching the surface of the relationship that would ensue.

 

However, on Match Day, Ricardo was overcome with shyness which hindered him from flooding Robert with questions. Match Day is a special day when long-awaiting students finally meet their mentor. Although every mentorship develops uniquely, one thing remains the same: everyone is excited for Match Day.

 

Ricardo is one of four students matched during National Mentoring Month this past January. Four new relationships are being built among mentors, their mentees and their family members!

 

As one matched student stated, “It’s important for me that my mentor gets to know my family.”

 

Clearly, there is an emphasis on connection from all sides in the mentorship. This grows naturally through time together each week.

 

For Ricardo and Robert, and all our new matches, this is the beginning of a wonderful friendship. Match Day sparks the connection bringing different worlds together. Bridges are built and strengthened as relationships grow – hopefully for many years to come.

 

 

Collage of new mentor/mentee matches with their families

 


 

Learn more about mentoring with Casa Chirilagua here.

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Casa to College Learns Bridge Building at Work

Casa to College students recently met with high skilled laborers from a variety of fields including an airplane mechanic, tunneling operator, a City of Alexandria EMT/firefighter, as well as a manager and director from the Alexandria Seaport Foundation. While they learned about various career paths from these workers, students also had the opportunity to learn about relational bridge building in the workplace.

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Challenging Conversations at Kids Club

Ms. Marissa, Youth Programs Director

 

As Eliana walked towards the pantry sink at Kids Club, I greeted her and asked, “Hey, how was your day today?” “It was ok,” she responded, “school is confusing.” I asked her to tell me more. She shared that paying attention is challenging because she’s sleepy; she’s sleepy because her little sister often wakes up scared in the middle of the night and climbs into Eliana’s bed, keeping her awake.

 

“It sounds like you need help figuring out how to love your sister while still getting the rest you need to do well in school. Have you talked to your dad?” I asked. “No,” she said, “I don’t know what to say… that just feels really hard.” We spent the next few minutes practicing ways she could communicate her needs to her dad. Before she ran off to play I asked, “Do you think you can be courageous and have this conversation with him tonight, even though you don’t know how he will respond?” She took a deep breath and said, “I think I can.”

 

After some days passed I followed up with Eliana regarding her conversation with her father. She paused, then replied, “I haven’t asked him yet.” I was a bit dismayed, but I continued to encourage her, reminding her that courage helps us confront our fears.

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Daniel’s Journey with Two Mentors

Daniel faced the overwhelming task of choosing a career after high school graduation. He was one of many students in the United States representing the first in their family to graduate high school. While working a job and passing his tests, this decision stayed prominently on his mind. However, he was not alone in this process.

 

At his side have been his supportive family and his two Casa mentors Sarah and Emmanuel. Arriving to this point was one of many milestones in their journey together.

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