Who: Marissa Bolanos
Role: Bright Start Mentor
Mentor Since: September 2016
Bright Start is our groundbreaking education 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 was looking for ways to volunteer and make a difference in my community. I knew I wanted to work with kids since I am working toward a career in social work. I heard about Bright Start and knew I wanted to be a part of the program and the community.
2) WHAT COMPONENT OF BRIGHT START DO YOU MOST ENJOY WITH YOUR MENTEE?
I love doing arts and crafts with my mentee and giving him the freedom to create something of his own. It is a way for him to explore his imagination and gives me the chance to learn more about him and his world.
3) FAVORITE MENTORING MOMENT TO DATE?
During one of our sessions, my mentee applied a lesson we had learned from a previous book to the lesson we were learning that day. It made me so happy to know he was absorbing the lessons we were learning and applying them to other parts of his life. It made me realize that what we were doing was really making a difference.
4) IN WHAT WAYS HAS MENTORING IMPACTED YOUR LIFE?
In college, I am surrounded by adults, and I am often consumed by the stress of school. Through Bright Start, I meet with my mentee once a week to craft and read, and I feel like a child again. My mentee has reminded me how to embrace my inner child and to find joy in the little things.
5) WHO ARE YOU WHEN YOU'RE NOT CHANGING THE LIVES OF OUR YOUNG LEARNERS?
I am a junior communication studies major at Chapman University. I am hoping to establish a career in social work specifically with women and children. My passions include traveling the world and exploring new places. I enjoy hiking with my dog and going on road trips with my friends. I love working with kids, volunteering, and getting involved in my community, and I am grateful for Bright Start for giving me the opportunity to do all of these things.