Category: Mentee Spotlight: South Kern
Jessica is a sophomore at Mira Monte High School and is mentored by Thalia Marroquin. After getting to know Jessica more, Thalia noticed that she had a sweet and caring personality and is a hard working student who needed to find a little motivation in her. She demonstrated determination and perseverance by trying her best in her studies, getting her grades up, and improving her school attendance all on her own. When Jessica and Thalia first met, they discussed Jessica’s challenges and academic progress. During the year, she had gained confidence and is willing to ask for help when needed. Jessica has raised her grade point average to a 3.16 G.P.A. and has tried out for the girls’ softball team at Mira Monte High School.
Cinthia Magana is an 8th grade student at Mountain View Middle School. Her mentor, Eva Valencia, has observed that she has made a lot of progress in her academic performance. She has been very motivated to improve her grades and currently has a 3.04 GPA. She is active at school, participating in soccer and her academic goal is to obtain a 4.0 GPA. “She shared with me that she was very excited to give the news to her Mom during the next parent conference,” said Eva, “She has also been part of School Safe Ambassadors and has become more respectful towards other people.”
Evelyn Ruvalcaba is a sophomore at South High School who has made a tremendous turnaround with attendance. At the beginning of the year, she would come to school once or twice a week. In November, Evelyn and her mentor Ashly Latunde had a serious talk about her life and the changes she wanted to make. Although they had talked many times before, Evelyn had reached a point where she was actually ready for a change. Working with Ashly, Evelyn set goals she wanted to reach during the school year and mapped out the steps to reach them. One of her goals was to come to school more often. First, she started coming to school at least three days a week. Then, she added days until she was attending school regularly Monday-Friday. “I am happy to report,” says Ashly, “That she came to school an entire month without missing a day!”
Evelyn is still making progress. She continues to come to school regularly and is now working to improve her grades.
Adriana is a junior at Golden Valley High School and is in her second year in the Building Healthy Communities AmeriCorps mentoring program. With the guidance of her mentors, Ruth Vizcaya in 2014-2015 and Krhystal this year, she has grown tremendously in the past year and a half. “I am fortunate to have her as one of my mentees this year,” said Krhystal, “Because she is an exceptional person. She has shown dedication in her school work and is working very hard in all her studies. She still has room for improvement but I am so proud of her thus far.” Adriana recently earned her driver’s permit after studying with Krhystal during her mentoring sessions. “What I hope for Adriana is that she completes high school and goes to college to earn her AA in Nursing like she dreams of doing,” adds Krhystal.
Jacob is an 8th grader at Haven Drive Middle School and was Ashley Cazares’ very first mentee when she started mentoring on campus. Jacob has been willing and eager to improve academically ever since that first day. He came to Ashley for help with Math, and they have dedicated time after school for tutoring. Since then he has gone from failing Math class to earning a B! He is now eligible to play sports and is trying out for the school soccer team. “I’m very proud of his dedication and willingness to improve!” says Ashley.
Jacob attended the BHC AmeriCorps’ Pathways to Success event at Golden Valley High School on Make a Difference Day. After listening to a guest speaker from the U.S. military, he is considering joining the military after he graduates from high school. On a side note, Jacob’s twin brother, Joshua, is being mentored in the AmeriCorps program by Ashley’s site partner, Maria Sepulveda.
Antonio is a junior at Mira Monte High School. When he started the school year, he was struggling with most of his classes but has shown tremendous growth in character and in academics in the past few months. He has raised his GPA to a 2.86 this last quarter and passed all of his classes. Since he started being meeting with his mentor Joseph Agundez, he has gotten involved with clubs on campus and is now the Treasurer for the Computer Technology Club. He went on a college-bound field trip to Fresno State and UC Merced in January and was excited to see what other schools were outside the Bakersfield area. He fell in love with Fresno State’s campus and what they had to offer.
When he got back from the trip he wanted to know what he could do to improve his grades and get to college. He worked with Joseph to create an A-G road map and asked about what extra courses he needed to take to catch up. He hopes to take classes over the summer to get back on track and graduate on time. “Whenever there is a chance to volunteer for an event or help out on campus,” says Joseph, “He is always the first one to raise his hand and dive in feet first to take on the challenge.”
His goal is to finish the school year above a 3.0 and enroll in summer school classes so that, by the time he starts his senior year, he will be caught up with the rest of his graduating class and become a future Fresno State Bulldog. “I knew from the first day I met Antonio that there was a drive in him that needed just a little extra push to get started,” adds Joseph, “He has a very funny personality and works well with others. When he is asked to solve a problem, he won’t give up until it’s solved. I’m proud of his commitment and willing to make a change to have a better future.”
Juan is an eighth-grade student at Haven Drive Middle School in Arvin who has made a commitment to his school work after a slow start during the early part of his middle school years. He has raised his grades to the point that he got all A’s in the third quarter of this year. He works with his mentor, Nora Pacheco, to keep up with his homework, even coming in during his free time to work on his assignments. “Almost every time he wants to see me,” writes Nora, “It’s because he wants help with his homework.” He is now focused and self-directed. He works hard to sustain the academic progress he has accomplished and is intent on starting high school on a strong note and making honor roll when he gets there. His mentor adds, “I’m really proud of him, his improvement, and motivation he has had to reach his goals.”
Adonica Rogers attends Ollivier Middle School and is mentored by Cheyenne Fontenot. During that time, Adonica has increased her GPA up from 2.55 to 3.16. “She previously had two D’s and now has none!” writes Cheyenne, “She was barely over the graduation GPA requirement, and is now greatly above it.” With her hard work and desire to walk across the stage for graduation, she has overcome barriers and improved her grades. Adonica has improved her attendance as well. “I am very proud to call her a mentee of mine,” adds Cheyenne, “I have faith she can continue the excellent work.”
Xi is a student at South High School in Bakersfield who is being mentored by Yani Valdes. Earlier this year, Xi expressed to Yani an interest in bringing up her grades because she wanted to play softball and simply to get better grades. Together, Xi and Yani looked through each of her classes and devised a plan to focus on two classes at a time, completing any missing assignments. Once completed, she would move on to the others. They set goals and communicated with teachers to review the assignments that needed to be completed each night. In order to see a speedy recovery, Xi focused on two classes per week over the period of four-five weeks. “I was thrilled to see her send me a picture of her B+ math test, a class in which she had a grade total of an F,” said Yani, “Even more warming was hearing her say she felt good and proud of herself.” With instruction and aid in keeping an organized binder, a game plan to tackle her classes, and her own personal determination, Xi has been able to improve her grades in nearly all classes. “I loved seeing her determination and want for something, her drive to achieve her goal,” adds Yani, “Xiomara is a wonderful young lady. It was truly a gift to see her work so hard for something she wanted. Though challenging, she set her mind towards something she hadn’t reached for before.”
The Santa Ana team of the Building Healthy Communities AmeriCorps Program raised awareness of domestic violence in their community during a Community Fair held at the Santa Ana Boys & Girls Club on Make a Difference Day, October 25. The purpose of the project was to identify the many ways domestic violence can be perpetrated on a victim – physical, mental, emotional, economic – and provide resources for residents and potential victims to prevent, report, and recover from violent incidents. The Boys & Girls Club, Human Options, the Santa Ana College of Continuing Education, and over 90 youth and adult volunteers collaborated with the Santa Ana team to stage the event.
Photo Caption: AmeriCorps Member Jazmine Espinoza shares information on domestic violence with a community member.