Fifteen years ago, I chose to become a mentor with Bolder Options, a Twin Cities wellness-based mentoring program for middle school youth. Since then, I’ve mentored five times. And with each of my year-long commitments to my mentees, I’ve been deeply humbled by the vulnerability, dedication, and growth we experienced together. Two of my mentees, Cynthia Galarza-Rosas and Anahi Lopez-Rosales, continue to impress me as they navigate adulthood and represent the impact mentoring can have in a young person’s life.
They are now both high school graduates, working full time, and attending local community colleges. Cynthia even bought her first house when she was 22, but this didn’t surprise me, since I first met her she has been business savvy. Whether she was designing the branding and menus for her aunt’s tamale business, making lattes as a barista, selling tacos from a food truck, or working an internship at an accounting firm downtown, she has hustled and worked hard for herself and for her family. And no matter how busy she was, she always showed up for our time together with a positive attitude and was ready for any new challenge. If I were to guess where Cynthia will end up after college, it will either be running her own business or as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company!
And then there’s Anahi, who has chosen to become a law enforcement officer because she wants to ensure that all people are treated fairly, regardless of their legal status, the color of their skin, or what language they speak. She has a huge heart–making meals for homeless people in her neighborhood and taking care of stray cats–and serves as a role model for her younger siblings. Anahi loves being active. I’ve never spent as much time at the YMCA as I have with her. I can’t imagine a better person to keep our streets safe and communities strong than this smart, thoughtful, & kind human being.
Thanks to Bolder Options and all of the mentors for helping shape the next generation of business leaders, justice reformers, & change-makers. And to all the mentees for showing us that the future is incredibly bright!