Right Start is Life-Changing for Both Youth and Mentors
With the consistent pressures faced in our society, youth today need even more guidance than ever before. Our youth are crying out for support, and sadly there are still many who are not being heard. Keenan has decided to change this. “Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.” (Josh Shipp) This quote rings very true, and it’s why we began Keenan’s Right Start Mentoring Program.
We started the program in October 2015, and it has flourished from partnering with one non-profit organization, to expanding geographically with three southern California organizations. Keenan is proud to participate in mentorships with Los Angeles Team Mentoring (Torrance Office), Spark Program (Torrance Office), and Big Brothers Big Sisters Inland Empire (Riverside Office). Keenan’s Right Start mentoring program offers Keenan employees a way to utilize their Volunteer Time Off benefits where employees can volunteer a total of 16 hours per calendar year with a non-profit of their choosing. Volunteering as a mentor consists of meeting for two hours weekly with their students, either at the student’s school campus, or at the Keenan campus, depending upon the structure of the program.
With a hectic daily work schedule, Keenan employees who choose to use their VTO hours toward the mentoring program find it to be a convenient way to put volunteer hours to use, but they also find that becoming a mentor means much more than just simply volunteering their time. Mentoring a young person is a life-changing opportunity for the mentee, but has a life-changing effect on the mentors as well. The following testimonials are expressions of the enjoyment that these employees have experienced with each mentoring program, demonstrating the personal impact of becoming a mentor.
“I enjoy mentoring with Los Angeles Team Mentoring because it allows me to see firsthand how the kids grow and mature week after week. When I started, a lot of the kids were shy and introverted, but through activities and group projects they have completely come out of their shell. They are excited to share ideas and work hands on with each other. I feel good when they become comfortable enough to open up, share and interact with me and the entire class. The kids WANT to come to Team Works; that alone is a testament to the program’s success.” (Kristin Cooper, Torrance)
“I had no idea that mentoring would be such a fulfilling experience. What I enjoyed most was getting to know my student and helping her to explore her interests and talents. I could help her discover more about herself, and watch her grow from that which was a reward in itself. We ended up having so much in common, it was like hanging out with my friend for two hours every Thursday. I look forward to participating in the SPARK Program again.” (Dalgiana Perez, Torrance)
“It’s such an honor to work for a company that has made a commitment into the lives of our youth by giving its employees the opportunity of mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters. It’s been so great to get to know my “little” and to spend time with him and his classmates each month. I’ve loved watching their comfort level grow each time we meet. When volunteering to serve others, you often begin by hoping that you will be a blessing to the ones you are serving, and thankfully you are. But the truth is, you quickly realize that you are equally blessed by inviting them into your life.” (Greg Mariano, Riverside)
In 2017, through the Right Start Mentoring Program, 36 Keenan employees recorded a total of 916 hours dedicated to making an impact in a young person’s life. As the mentoring program continues its success, we are looking to expand mentoring opportunities in Northern Keenan offices.
To learn more about these mentoring programs, we invite you to visit their websites:
Los Angeles Team Mentoring – www.latm.org
Spark Program – http://sparkprogram.org/
Big Brothers Big Sisters Inland Empire – http://www.iebigs.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.