Navigating a Pathway to a Good Life
I believe encouraging and advocating for our youth is a very vital task in today’s society. My focus is helping to give our youth a voice that is too often disregarded and not always heard. In 2014, our CEO Sean Smith announced that all employees would be given two work days solely dedicated to volunteering. I began to search for opportunities on my own until there was an announcement of a Summer Leadership Camp for a mentoring program called Los Angeles Team Mentoring (LATM), seeking volunteers to interview their middle school students. Volunteers would review the students projects they worked on during the camp week, speak with them about their future college plans, their career goals, and offer them feedback on their presentation and interview skills. This was right up my alley and I signed up with zero hesitation.
I sat with two young ladies during the interview process and was immediately humbled. They each gave me a brief background on their family, home life, and what it was like being a middle school aged student in Los Angeles. They shared their struggles, their hopes, and the change they wanted to see for their generation and generations to follow. It was refreshing to hear these young girls speak with such confidence and that LATM had encouraged this vivaciousness that I was witnessing. After volunteering, I received hand-written thank you notes from each of the girls and my heart was full. I wanted to do more with this program. Fortunately, I did not have to wait too long. LATM’s school year mentoring program was offered to Keenan employees.
Every Monday, I spend two hours at Wilmington Middle School to mentor a great group of students. I was nervous at first and wondered how I would be able to juggle my work load, and if the commitment of an entire school year be too long? Those worries immediately vanished with the support of my supervisor and once the mentoring began. It felt like the school year flew right by and I couldn’t believe when we were already meeting for our last session.
The program was a growing experience for not only the students, but for me as well. The topics we discussed hit head on with anything a middle school aged student would face, from peer pressure, self image, leadership, family, and more. Watching how the students each grew in their own way over the year was amazing to see. My mentees keep me humble and remind me as well to not be so stressed about my everyday pressures, especially after learning some of the pressures they face at such a young age. Whether they realize it or not, they also make a clear impact in my life. And just last month, I got a chance to attend the LATM Soiree event where they recognized Sean Smith and Keenan for our dedication to the program. It was amazing to hear the stories of the mentors and mentees who have been affected by LATM as I have.
I became a mentor because I wanted the opportunity to inspire younger generations to keep their dreams big, and their heads held high throughout their life. I love being a part of this program and knowing I am making a difference. I may not be changing the entire world by mentoring; however, if I can make a positive impact in one person’s life, then I have at least changed the world for one person.
To learn more about Los Angeles Team Mentoring, please visit their web site, www.latm.org
About Trisha Pond
Trisha Pond works as a Marketing Assistant for Keenan’s Marketing Department. She manages and assists with Keenan’s Corporate Social Responsibility programs. She’s worked with mentoring programs such as SPARK and Los Angeles Team Mentoring for the past two and a half years as a liaison for Keenan to ensure the success of the Right Start Mentoring Program.