Mentoring Works

We are so grateful to our mentors. A mentor makes a huge difference in the life of a child. Mentoring works! In this National Mentoring Month, we honor a few of our mentors.

Paola for Her Mentor Rachel Griffin

It was my 11th birthday when “I Have a Dream” introduced to me the person that would forever change my life in such a positive way, Rachel Griffin. Not only has she been the best mentor, but she has been my greatest inspiration, sister, and friend. We share a unique relationship because I know that I can talk to her about anything. I have shared my biggest hopes, dreams, and fears. She is very supportive of me and supports me in my life decisions, and not once has she ever doubted or judged me. She is always there to give me the best advice she has to offer me.

She has always pushed me into trying new things, even if I was scared. She encouraged me to be brave and that is why I admire her so much. We have shared so many great memories together that it is hard to just talk about one. But a memory that I will never forget would be when she attended my Quinceañera because I got to share my cultural background with her and she totally loved it. It was a beautiful feeling having her there, especially being such an important day of my life. It is something I will never forget, and I am glad that she was part of it. It is amazing to have her in my life. She has watched me grow from a little girl to a young adult. I know that she is very proud of my accomplishments in life. She means the world to me, and she isn`t just my mentor: she is family, and I couldn’t imagine my life without her.

To learn more about becoming a Mentor with IHADLA click here

From 9th Grade Dreamer, Dy’Mond about her Mentor Maureen McComsey

My favorite part of having a mentor is being able to bond with another adult and spend quality time together. My favorite outing with my mentor, Maureen McComsey is when she took me on a boat cruise, which was a first time experience for me and it was so much fun. She’s very understanding and we enjoy spending time with each other. What I have learned from my mentor relationship is that she is always there to listen, give me good advice and if I need an extra hand with something, she is always there to help me (Besides my Program Coordinator, Mrs. C ). Maureen has taught me to see life differently and not to always focus on others before myself, because now being in high school I am truly focused on my future. I’m so happy Maureen my mentor!

From Dy’Mond’s Mentor Maureen McComsey

I became a mentor with IHAD-LA because of the opportunity to have an impact on a young  person’s life and hopefully influence some of their decisions they make in a positive way.  It also makes me very happy to be able to share things with a young person outside my usual circle and to see a different perspective beyond the Santa Monica bubble.  It’s been great getting to know Dy’mond and having a chance to introduce her to new things.  Seeing things through her eyes always makes me appreciate some of things I take for granted.


Mentor Laurie Zaks and her Mentee, Marina

(We will be following with a video interview of Laurie and Marina)

Mentor Laurie Zaks with IHADLA Dreamer Mentee Marina
Mentor Laurie Zaks with IHADLA Dreamer Mentee Marina

Comments from Marina’s coordinator:

Laurie Zaks became Marina’s mentor October 2006.

Over the 8 years, the relationship between Marina and Laurie has evolved into something very special. Laurie has been a great support system to Marina and her family. The Mejia family has gone through some obstacles and challenges, but never once has Laurie allowed Marina to go through them alone. As a child, Marina was quiet and introverted, and Laurie has helped her come out of her “shell”. Marina has blossomed into a mature young adult with the guidance and support Laurie has given her. Laurie has exposed Marina to many great excursions that she may never have experienced before. Laurie has been a confidant; she is definitely someone Marina can always count on. Even with busy schedules, they always find time to get together and catch up. Laurie has always encouraged Marina to pursue her highest potential. Marina looks up to Laurie and they have formed a strong bond.

Mentoring Tips from Lupe Camberos

1) Be very patient. Not all kids will be comfortable right away, and when trying to teach them new things it can become difficult.
2) Be passionate. If you like being a mentor, your passion to enhance that child’s knowledge will just come super natural and you will enjoy very minute of it while continuously creating new ideas/activities to do with them in the future.
3) Be motivated. You need to be motivated to make your mentee feel valued and special. When you are excited and ready to reach for the stars, it becomes contagious, and your mentee’s motivation for anything will increase.
4) Always provide positive verbal reinforcement for your mentee. Reinforcing all the positive things he/she does will help them build that self-confidence they made need. Be their cheerleader!

Mentor Lupe Camberos with Her IHADLA Mentee Ashley

About Lupe’s Mentoring from Ashley’s coordinator at IHADLA:

Lupe is constantly providing support by helping Ashley practice reading and helping her with her math homework during the weekends, IHADLA after school programming, and during the winter break. Lupe maintains contact with Ashley’s mom as well to help Ashley academically and emotionally. Aside from helping her academically, Lupe engages in activities with Ashley such as ice skating, hiking, bowling, and marathons. Lupe has established a strong relationship with Ashley and with Ashley’s parents which allows Lupe to provide a large amount of support in all fields (emotionally, academically, physically). With Lupe’s support, Ashley has improved her reading and writing skills.


Mentor Andrew Carlberg with IHADLA Dreamer mentee Luis

From Luis’ Mentor Andrew Carlberg

Getting to know Luis and watch him grow from an insecure middle-schooler to a fully motivated and driven college student has been one of the great joys of my adult life. I’ve been reminded, through mentoring him, that we often need to be our own source of motivation and that there is never any shame in relying on others for assistance along the way.