Mayor Thomas M. Menino took a moment to meet Massiel De Los Santos and her mentor Camille Marcos at a Mass Mentoring event earlier this year, at which Massiel received an educational award made possible by Liberty Mutual Chairman, President and CEO and former MMP Board Chair Ted Kelly and his wife, Debbie.
Imagine this: a caring adult enters a child’s life, and through the basic acts of spending time, and being both a good listener and dependable, incredible things start to happen to both mentor and mentee.
Camille Marcos and Massiel De Los Santos, a Boston high-schooler, have been together over a year after being matched through the TAG/Panas Mentoring Program in Boston. De Los Santos emigrated from the Dominican Republic at age 7 and wasn’t able to join a regular English-speaking classroom until seventh grade. However, she wasn’t discouraged. Three years later, De Los Santos was taking honors classes and getting involved in extracurricular activities, though never as a leader. Seeing this, Marcos encouraged her to take on leadership roles and showed her how to balance those responsibilities with school work. Marcos also helped De Los Santos hone her study habits and increase her grades further so that she’d have a better chance of being accepted into a top college. Today, with the help of her mentor and a special educational award she received from Mass Mentoring earlier in the year, De Los Santos is well on her way to achieving her goal of attending college. “Massiel has proven over and over that her desire to get the best education, and the drive to succeed, helps her to overcome any obstacle placed in front of her,” noted Camille.
Nikita Payne and her mentee Tahjae, a Boston fifth-grader, met through Friends of the Children-Boston and spent two years getting to know each other, doing fun things together and working on specific goals. Said Payne: “Our time was spent both in and out of school. We worked on developing executive skills, planning, leadership skills and building confidence through swimming.” Payne added that Tahjae also benefited from being exposed to a variety of cultures and communities that she may not have been before they met. “Overall Tahjae is more confident, happier and able to use strategies that she’s learned when faced with difficulty. She’s also blossoming into a young lady and is a positive leader.”
For mentee Wandy Peguero and mentor Ken Tangvik — both from Jamaica Plain, who met through the Hyde Square Task Force mentoring program — it was a shared passion for sports that helped them create a special relationship. In fact, Wandy and Ken first met on the local baseball field. Wandy was an 11-year-old with a dream of making it to the major leagues one day, and Ken was a community volunteer coach for his team in the local league. Living in the same neighborhood, Ken and Wandy often made plans to meet for pizza and to watch Red Sox and Patriots games together. Relatively new to the country from the Dominican Republic, Wandy was hesitant of speaking English in front of others. With the encouragement from Ken, who is an English professor at Roxbury Community College, Wandy’s linguistic skills significantly improved. In no time, Wandy became more confident in school and in his social life, and as a result both his grades and school attendance dramatically improved. Now, seven years later, he is taking college classes.