Who: Adriana Garcia
Role: Bright Start Mentor/Development Assistant
Mentor Since: October 2015
Bright Start is our ground-breaking education pilot program that pairs elementary-age children requiring additional assistance in reading, math, and science with volunteer mentors who meet with students every week for a two-hour session. Trained by Project Hope Alliance and Every Monday Matters, Bright Start mentors function as mentors, coaches, and motivators. Read more about this innovative education program here.
1) What is your why?
I'm a mentor because I want to do something for my community. I want to encourage these children to believe in themselves and know that they are loved. Having grown up as a child in Orange County myself, I identify with my mentees and want them to have all of the same opportunities I had, despite what their families have gone through.
2) What component of Bright Start do you most enjoy with your mentee?
I mostly enjoy talking about our days with my mentees. They love telling me about their families and what they've been doing at school. They're also always happy to hear about me and what my life is like. I get a lot of questions from them about my family and work, so it's fun to be able to tell them about it.
3) Favorite mentoring moment to date?
My favorite mentoring moment to date has been when I gave the kids each a bag of goodies that UCI had put together for them. It included school supplies, books, and stuffed animals. Their faces lit up and they screamed with joy. They were so excited to use all their supplies and could not stop talking about how it was what they've always wanted. Seeing them so happy and thankful about a small gift meant a lot to me.
4) In what ways has mentoring impacted your life?
Mentoring has made me a more relaxed person. I look forward to mentoring each week because I know that for those two hours I can ignore the big adult world and just focus on my mentees and their lives. The children's ability to be so worry-free and happy about little things has inspired me to appreciate everything in my own life.
5) Who are you when you're not changing the lives of our young learners?
When I'm not having fun with my mentees, I work at Project Hope Alliance as a Development Assistant.