Hispanic Heritage Month: Latino Bigs and Why We Need a Mentor in Our Life #LatinoBigs

I’m very excited to announce that I’m a Big Brothers Big Sisters Latino Recruitment Ambassador.  Latino Bigs, A Latino Recruitment site will launch on Monday, September 14, 2012!  The site encourages Latinos to mentor Latino youths.  Many of us have influencers in our lives.  As children, teens or adults we have been influenced by positive role models outside of our immediate family who saw something in us that we did not see in ourselves.  Teachers, coaches, neighbors, co-workers, clergy and family friends are all people who serve as mentors in informal ways every day.

I’m very fortunate that I have had many positive role models in my life.   In High School my teachers and advisors always challenged me to do better.  Many of them went out of their way to encourage and motivate me as well. I took on many challenging roles as the result of their guidance and support.

While I was in High School I took English and was active in sports.  My English teacher Mr Nicolof always made his class a lot of fun.  He always allowed us to learn English creatively.  We also learned the story of Macbeth by participating in a play for the classroom.  My English teacher was also the football coach and my soccer coach.  He really pushed me to do better in the classroom and as an athlete. After our games he would go out of his way to give everyone on the team a ride home if they needed it, including me.  I believe the continued support and encouragement of my teacher and coach  made me a better person and provided the environment and opportunity to excel.   It also gave me the self confidence to challenge myself when I went to college and inspiration to become a mentor to others today.

High School Trip to Yosemite National Park - 1986

While in High School our Dean of Activities took a group of young  leaders on a one week trip to Yellowstone Park.  It was a trip of a lifetime for many of us.  During the year he acted as a guidance counselor of our young ASB leadership team.

A couple years ago I had the opportunity to catch up with with Mr. Nicoloff and Mr. Cinaris. They are both very proud of the accomplishments I had made in my life.  Last year I  also surprised Mr. Nicoloff in his English classroom.  He is teaching and making a difference in his student’s lives.  It’s one of the reasons I continue to proudly give back to my alma mater.

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Not everyone has the opportunity to have mentors in school.  That is why I’m so glad a program such as Latino Bigs exists.

Why Latino Bigs are so Important

About 20% of the children Big Brother Big Sister program serves are Hispanic – a number on the rise. Yet, only 9% of Bigs are Latino.  Also, more than 70% of the children ready and waiting to be matched with a mentor are boys, yet only 3 of 10 volunteer inquiries come from men.   Children need a boost in self-esteem and encouragement to believe in themselves that only an adult can give. Guidance and consejos can come in the form of sharing a personal story about the difficulties of algebra.

Join the Chat

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month we will also be hosting a Twitter chat on October 10, 2012  to discuss the importance of mentorship among the Latino community.  Please  join Latina Mom Bloggers and Big Brothers and Big Sisters on Wednesday, OCT 10  from 7- 8:00 pm ET for a Twitter CHAT!

There will be lots of information regarding our Latino ‘littles’ and their need for ‘Big’ volunteers! Lets work together to support our youth, our future. Follow the hashtag #LatinoBigs

If not us, who?  If not now, when?  Volunteer Now.

For more more information about volunteering as a ‘”Big” check out www.latinobigs.org or  www.bigbrothersbigsisters.org.

This is part of a supported campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Big Brothers Big Sisters.  However, all opinions expressed are my own.

 

Question:  Have you ever mentored a child?  Have you considered mentoring a child?

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