Who: Lizbeth Espinoza
Role: Bright Start Mentor
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 wanted to become a mentor because I had a longing to challenge myself and step outside of my comfort zone to do something more for my community. I desired to be a part of an experience that would allow me to expand my awareness of circumstances that my future students could be encountering in their lives, so that I could have the insight and consciousness to be a better educator for them. In the midst of my searching for such an opportunity, I came across Project Hope Alliance, and I did not think twice to apply.
2) What component of Bright Start do you most enjoy with your mentee?
I love the conversations that I have with my mentee! He has such a positive perspective on life and is full of so much love for his family. The amount of creativity and imagination he possesses continually amazes me and leaves me astonished. It has been through our conversations that I have been exposed to the perspective of a child who sees the world through optimistic and hopeful eyes.
3) Favorite mentoring moment to date?
It's hard to pick just one favorite mentoring moment! However, my favorite moments have been seeing a grin appear in my mentee's face as he finds success in being able to pronounce a tough word, or when he makes a connection between our topic of discussion and his own life. Overall, it has been seeing him grow in wisdom and confidence in himself and in his abilities.
4) In what ways has mentoring impacted your life?
Prior to becoming a part of Team Kid, I was questioning my future career options. I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher, but being a Bright Start mentor solidified my interest in working with the middle childhood age group. I am confident that the experiences I have gained are not ones that I could have obtained anywhere else. With each mentoring session that passes, I am more certain in my desire and love for serving our young kids and being an instrument of hope and inspiration.
5) Who are you when you're not changing the lives of our young learners?
I am a daughter, a sister, a young adult ready to make a difference. I am a strong proponent in challenging myself to do the things that scare me the most. I am a first generation, full-time college student aspiring to become an elementary school teacher. I am a tutor who, inspired by my own mentors, works with GEAR UP, a program dedicated to increase the number of underrepresented students from low-income backgrounds to continue onto higher education. Above all, I am God's hands and feet, willing to serve those in need of love and joy wherever it is that I am needed.