Serving As A Mentor

Family Tree

Serving as a mentor has taught me many valueable life lessons. The first lesson is that if you agree to take on the role of a mentor, you should always be prepared to listen. This is a crucial part of the mentoring process, as you cannot assist anyone in personal growth if you are not receptive to them.

The second lesson I learned is that you must also be willing to talk. As someone who is supposed to have experience and wisdom, you should be sharing those things with your mentee so that they are better equipped to handle the obstacles that you yourself found challenging. It can be difficult to communicate, as you will not always have the same attitude or values as someone you mentor, however, being able to communicate and still enable your mentee to grow is what makes a true mentor.

The final lesson I learned is that it is crucial to establish expectations. Without expectations, a mentor cannot hold their mentee accountable, and vise versa. It is impossible to meet unspoken expectations as well, so making them known through a detailed discussion is essential if you wish to be an effective positive figure.

 

Advertisements

Robinson & Barnes Hall Council

Every week I dedicate an 1-2 hours to the R&B (Robinson & Barnes) Hall Council. This is a time where the community comes together and discusses whats going on in, around, and away from the community. It also serves as an outlet for those seeking leadership opportunities, as there are many ways that students can get involved with hall council.

This year I assisted in grilled cheese fundraisers, the annual DREAM Conference, Relay for Life, Hall Olympics, Larzelere and R&B Trivia Night, and much, much more. These events are part of what makes Hall Council so fun and grounding for many of the community members. Hall Council allows for students to feel at home, as well as outside of there comfort zone if they so wish. That is part of the beauty of hall council, it is loving, accepting, and inclusive of all. It is the main factor behind the constant 5 star status of R&B.

Getting involved with Hall Council my freshman year gave me the tools I needed in order to pursue higher leadership roles, and I attribute much of my growth to the Hall Council Advisor, Hannah Bleech. I continue to participate in Hall Council in hopes of inspiring others to set goals of themselves and find the tools necessary for accomplishing them, much like Hannah Bleech has done for me.

 

 

 

Hermanos Para Unidad (Brothers For Unity)

IMG3650377331285934125

Hermanos Para Unidad is a new Registered Student Organization on campus that was created in order to promote Latino culture at Central Michigan University, as well as standards of morality, ethics, and education.

I have the honor of serving as the Executive Events Chairperson, along with nine other dedicated brothers. So far this year, we have organized and successfully executed a Salsa and Bachata class where we thought anyone willing to show up ancient dances that have been practiced for generations in Latin America. We also orchestrated a campus clean up on Earth Day in which we cleaned parking lots and the Rose Pond which is not maintained by CMU.

Our goal moving forward is to continue to contribute to the success and well being of our community as well as upholding our mission statement stated above.

Youth Advocacy AWB

IMG1391613674.jpg

This past winter break I was give the opportunity to travel to Charleston, South Carolina with a group of 11 other CMU students on my third Alternative Break (more blogs to come). The social justice issue my group focused on was youth advocacy, and we spent a week volunteering with the Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC).

Starting off, I was not prepared for the impact that this break would have on me mentally, nor did I expect it to strengthen what I already thought to be a strong desire to work with children in the foster care system. I thought I was fairly knowledgable about youth advocacy and the issues surrounding the topic, however, this break gave me the opportunity to truly immerse myself in the lives of foster children and allow me to see just how severe the scale of the issue is.

We spent everyday at the CYDC, a campus that consists of: houses for the foster children, recreational and educational facilities, and a main office building. This center serves as a model community for other foster homes, as they provide numerous and essential services to their children that most foster facilities do not. They teach the children there how to work on cars, computer programming, musical instruments, and healthy lifestyle habits so that they can develop necessary skills to assist in getting them ahead in life. However, this does not make the CYDC perfect, as funds are limited and the impossible feat of giving each child the love and attention they deserve.

The first three days at the CYDC were spent sorting presents for the children that were donated from sponsor families. These presents were things that the children were in need of, and would be given at their annual christmas party. In addition to this, we also performed demolition on one of the campus houses that was being remodeled into a transition home for children that would age out of the system. This would serve as a foothold into the real world, and allow the new young adults to find their place in society before just being thrown into the streets to fend for themselves.

IMG1337523825

The last two days were spent in direct interactions with the children of the CYDC. These two days provided me with the most fulfilling, yet heartbreaking experience I have ever had. I connected with one child in particular, and learned about their journey leading up to the CYDC. As their story unfolded, it took everything in me not to fall apart. I realized that even with everything the CYDC does for these children, it is still not enough for them to grow into healthy, thriving individuals. It was after this moment that my goal of becoming an agent of social change in the world of foster care was transformed into a burning desire.

After our 52 hours of community service at the CYDC, we returned to our own community to share what we learned, and become active citizens in trying to bring about change for children in need. I have taken what I have learned from this experience and applied them to my social work classes. I will continue to apply this knowledge as well as educating myself so that one day I can shape the policies that will result in much needed change in the foster care world.

Las In The D!

Las in the D was an amazing experience. We learned so many things and made truly amazing memories. I was so excited for my cohort to see how incredibly different the city of Detroit has become, and to contribute to the city’s great comeback. This excursion encompassed: A trip to the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a tour of the Quicken Loans buildings, leisure time at the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum, an overnight stay at the Outdoor Adventure Center, and a day of service at Cass Community Social Services. Although we may have spent only two days in Detroit, we all learned so many crucial things, and grew as individuals that will continue to impact the city of Detroit.

Jalen Rose Leadership Academy

When we first arrived at JRLA, I had the impression that we would be teaching these high school students about the different leadership styles that exist. This was not the case, as I quickly learned that these students already knew about leadership. During our facilitation activities with these high schooler, they continually demonstrated their advanced leadership skills, and taught my cohort that they understood the different leadership concepts, and how to apply those concepts to real life. I was blown away by their knowledge, and I think that both these students and my cohort learned from each other. Although our time together was short, both the JRLA students and those from CMU impacted each other immensely, and inspired one another to continue to do great things inside and out of the city of Detroit.

thumbnail_img_1508

Quicken Loans

As a Quicken Loans intern and Campus Ambassador, I have tried to talk to my friends about the amazing things QL has done to help bring back the city of Detroit. I have also tried to tell them about my amazing internship experience their in the summer of 2016. When I heard that we would be touring QL on our excursion, I became ecstatic because I would be able to not just tell my friends about this amazing company, but they will actually get to see it. On our tour, we saw many buildings and spoke to John Fikany who is the QL Vice President of Strategy. He told us about the passion that QL has in bringing back the city, and how that passion drives their success. He inspired many of my cohort members to apply for an internship and left us with the knowledge that their is an opportunity for everyone at Quicken Loans.

pyati4_800.jpg

Detroit Institute of Arts Museum

This museum never fails to take my breath away. I have been to the DIA many times, and with each visit I see something new and somehow more amazing than the previous gallery. This museum is a reminder that their are countless cultures, each with their own beautiful and unique traits. The DIA breathes life and creativity though the masterpieces it displays, and provides people from all over the world to learn about the beauty of art. It is in the top six museums list to visit in the U.S., and allows people from three surrounding counties to enter for free. It struggled in the pass to reach its current tier, but it overcame those challenges through the determination of the people who saw its potential for greatness. I will continue to visit this museum as its art is always changing, and I will do anything that I can to help this establishment continue to educate the world about Art.

img_1407

Outdoor Adventure Center

As our time at the DIA came to an end, we headed over to the Outdoor Adventure Center. Here we stayed overnight, and learned about this establishment that provides the feel of Michigan’s outdoor life in the center of the city. It educates people about the different aspects of the outdoors, and allows one to discover their potential passions for nature. The relationship between CMU and OAC continues to grow as does the LAS in the D program, and  look forward to the opportunities that OAC will provide for CMU students in the future.

img_15101

Cass Community Social Services

As a returning volunteer at CCSS, I was well aware of the services they provided, and what to expect. This organization provides services for the people of Detroit such as: providing food, housing, health services, and employment programs designed to get people back on their feet. Their contribution to the city is crucial, as they have helped the homeless population in immense ways. Both of my times at CCSS, I have had the opportunity to construct rubber matts made from recyclable tires. This service provides jobs for people who need it, and is a great way to generate money for this program and the others provided at CCSS. Sandals and coasters are also made and bring in good revenue. Volunteering here, I have become more aware of the reality that these kinds of programs are essential if we want Detroit to make a full come back. These programs nurture people and shape them to become leaders in their own right and become the back bone of Detroit. As a citizen of Detroit, I will continue to volunteer my time at CCSS and other non-profits around the city to help the city make a full recovery. I will also strive to implement new programs that help develop leadership in the people who are a part of the programs, as I feel that leadership is what can help Detroit become the number one city again.

9860600_orig


 

As I reflected on my experience I had during LAS in the D, I decided that this trip was not about me or my cohort. I decided that this trip was to show us that with our skills and knowledge of leadership, we have the ability to help the city, or any community, overcome challenges. Yes we had fun and made memories that will last forever, but what we truly accomplished was serving a community and inspired leadership that will help to bring it out of its dark age. Accomplishing this, I realized that I have the responsibility as a leader to give back to my community, and encourage others to stand up and serve their communities as well.

Another important realization I had while reflecting on this trip is this: Either in a corporate setting or community service setting, there are ways to give back to your community. If you have the passion to do something, then you can do it. Quicken Loans and Cass Community Social Services are both prime examples of this, and work to make Detroit the best city it can be. They have given my insight on a city that I have lived in for years, and enabled me to effectively make a difference. I plan to work with these organizations and more in the future, to ensure that Detroit is on the path to the greatest come back in history.

TIA MARIA TORRES

Tia Maria Torres is the founder of the Villalobos Rescue Center. The center takes in dogs that are in need of rescuing and finding a forever home. Tia founded this center because she realized that the mistreatment of dogs in our society is an issue with very little being done to help solve it. It is this fact that has drawn me, and countless others, to admire the leadership of Tia Torres. Not only does she stand up for what she believes in, but she will face any obstacles that may get in her way. She has over come natural disasters, low funding, and many other challenges to stop her from fulfilling her dreams. She helped me realize that if you take something that you truly care about, and work hard enough, one can do anything that they put their mind too. I admire Tia so much because she understands what it means to struggle in life, and how to over come that feeling of hitting rock bottom. She inspires me to challenge myself and stand up for what is right, even when society may disagree.

 
maria_torres

If you would like to visit this link: http://www.vrcpitbull.com, you can learn more about Tia Maria Torres and the Villalobos Rescue Center.