Virtual Mentoring Makes Giving Back Possible
By Juan Mascorro-Guerrero, Mentor at SWCC
This year I’ve gotten the opportunity to mentor Byron, a student at Southwest Community Campus. Growing up as a first generation immigrant, where both my parents worked hard to support our family, meant my parents did not have much time to help me navigate school or the workforce. Fortunately, along my journey I had mentors who helped guide me to where I am today.
One of those mentors was and continues to be Adriana Almanza, former Associate Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Grand Valley State University. She connected me with financial aid and social resources while also challenging me to pursue a masters degree.
Fast forward to today, I am a young professional who graduated college debt free, holds a Masters Degree, and is working in a fulfilling role within Human Resources at the University of Chicago – all because I had mentors who motivated and guided me. I am now in a good place to give back to my community and thus when I heard of Affinity Mentoring I knew that through this organization I could finally support someone through mentorship just as I once was.
Although I now live in Chicago, IL I knew I still wanted to give back to the West Michigan community as this was where most of my mentors were from and holds a special place in my heart. I’ve now been meeting with my mentee Byron through Zoom for a few weeks and have gotten to provide him with some guidance while also learning from him.
One thing that I’ve slowly realized is that mentoring goes both ways, through every interaction with my mentee there is also an opportunity for me to learn: both my mentee and myself bring a wealth of knowledge that is super valuable. Every week we meet, I check in to see how he is doing, make it a priority to teach Byron a new word, spend time talking about career paths, and engage in discussions about fun outdoor activities.
I am thankful for Zoom as it has made mentoring from Chicago a possibility – I am easily able to share my screen and play games virtually. Although we aren’t together in person I feel like I am still able to successfully mentor Byron through Zoom. I appreciate Affinity Mentoring for adapting to these changing times, providing mentors with several resources to be successful virtually, and for making mentoring remotely a possibility!