April 26, 2022 | By Rachel Humphreys
After two long years, Affinity Mentoring is back to hosting its annual Better Together Benefit! This signature event showcases student talent, leadership, and the importance of mentoring relationships.
The funds raised from this event are essential to sustain our organization and support students and their mentors. Affinity’s goal is to raise $70,000 of unrestricted funds we use to support students during this crisis and throughout the entire year. Get in-person or virtual tickets here.
This year’s EmCees are Cass Salas and Isabel Landero!
|Cass Salas (they/them)
Cass is an avid community volunteer, in addition to being a mentor to a 7th grader at Lee Middle School they are passionate about supporting unhoused residents of Grand Rapids, breaking the stigma around mental illness, caring for animals, and facilitating conversations about highly intersectional topics.
In their day job, Cass has worked in the restaurant and service industry for over 10 years. Their skills range from CNA, server, to event planning and self-proclaimed declutterer. A common thing about Cass is their service mindset, bringing dignity and hope to community members, and holding space for a judgment free perspective to learn from others.
Since becoming a mentor Cass says, “It reminds me of how to listen, teaches me all the ways I don’t know the world, and invigorates my soul.” They have also been an integral part of building the Lee Middle Mentoring Program through their work on the Middle School Mentoring Steering Committee.
|Isabel Landero (uses all pronouns)
Isabel is a 9th grader at Lee High School. They are a very driven student and are extremely active in their school community. They love performing, having been in musicals, plays, and band. Isabel plays the Oboe and has also been part of the drumline. They enjoy the constant challenge and mastery of playing instruments and in the future want to attend the University of Michigan and play in the marching band.
Education is very important to their family and will be a first generation college student. Their dad is from Mexico and mom is from Estonia. Their family emigrated to the US to be able to give their kids a better life. Spanish is a big part of their family and after visiting family in Mexico it became one of Isabel’s goals to become more fluent.
Isabel is a passionate and driven leader who continues to maintain a 4.0 while balancing extracurriculars and work. In addition they are a member of the Student Advisory Council. Which most recently involved taking pictures at the High School’s Ground Breaking Ceremony and being a representative for student needs. When they’re not at school or performing, Isabel plays on the school soccer and volleyball teams, and also works weekends at Burger King.
Their leadership and work ethic in Middle School was recognised by Principal Andy Steketee and was one of three students personally invited by him to be part of the Middle School Mentoring Steering Committee.
They joined the MSMSC to help students who may be struggling. Even though Isabel has never had a mentor of their own, they wanted to make sure others would benefit from the program.