Stand & Deliver Academic Mentoring
“The Stand & Deliver program at Raytheon has had a tremendous impact on me, not only towards my education but also my career goals. When I first heard about this program I thought it was a commitment that I wouldn’t be able to make. Attending session every Tuesday from mid-October to early May from 3:30 – 5:30 isn’t really for everyone. And that’s what I love most about it! As a student, I don’t only go for help on stress filled calculus. The mentors there have a greater purpose than just helping with school work. They are there when you need some advice in life, some help on filling out applications, helping you decide which schools are the right fit, but best of all, when you need someone to talk to. After my first year in Stand & Deliver, I have realized how important you can be to someone’s education. This year I decided to volunteer in my school as a mentor for 9th graders. It feels good knowing that you have someone out there encouraging and pushing you to the limit beyond your expectations.”
Jose Arache was a quiet, Spanish speaking student when he entered the 8th grade. His Stand & Deliver mentor Ed Warnshuis spoke only English, which presented quite a problem. However they made their mentoring relationship work. Ed realized almost immediately that Jose was a math genius, but that English was holding him back. He talked Jose into making a more conscious effort to use English in the class room, in the hall way, and in other areas of his life. Jose not only passed 10th grade MCAS, but was graded proficient! As Ed put it, “he gets it in his very soul that if you have to do something, you do it. ‘I can’t’ just isn’t a part of his vocabulary.” Nine years later, Jose has graduated from high school and has been studying at UMass Lowell. He is seven courses away from a Bachelors degree in electrical engineering. He recently just gained citizenship and Ed was right there with him every step of the way. To this day, Ed and Jose still meet for coffee and mutual encouragement.
Big Friends Little Friends
For the past six years, I have been matched with the most vibrant, riveting, and inspirational Big Friend from the agency. Her name is Jess and our time together has been an amalgam of new beginnings and miniature escapades. I was a sheepish, little Hispanic girl from Lawrence, MA when I met her. My consciousness of the world around me was limited to the 7 square-mile, immigrant city I lived in. Jess, however, took me outside of this uniform bubble and encouraged me to try new things. She exposed me to a whole new world and fostered my newfound curiosity. Largely due to my mentorship with Jess, I am more cultured and aware of my surroundings, and more adventurous and confident. My mentor's experiences have cultivated in me a desire for seeing the world; the cognizance of her actions and their effects on the earth has sparked in me a love for the environment and sustainability. Over the years, Jess has seen me become the open-minded, well-rounded young woman I am today. Four years ago, she kept me optimistic and driven as I applied to private high schools, and this year she has advised me as I apply to colleges. Jess has always supported me in my educational endeavors, but more importantly, she has made me realize that life should be an equal balance between work and play. As a high achieving student, Jess has reminded me to lift my nose out of my textbooks to absorb the colors, music, and laughs that the world has in store for me.
Siempre Papa (24/7 Dad)
“My name is Jose and I completed the 12 week Siempre Papa program. It helped me to be a better father and more loving with my 20 year old daughter. Finally for the first time I said to my daughter “I love you.” It was great! Thank you to Family Service for helping me to be a better father. I will always be grateful.”
Young Empowered Parents
“It hasn’t been easy growing up in Lawrence where everything around you is statistics. So when I became pregnant in my junior year of high school, I knew I fit into the statistics of teen pregnancy. As nervous as I was, I didn’t know what direction to turn; I fell into a deep depression. Reality had hit me. I didn’t have a single clue on how to raise a child. I needed knowledge. One day about 7 months into my pregnancy, my mom came to me and said, ‘we have an intake form for a teen pregnancy program called Family Services.’ I looked at her like she had five heads. What are they going to do? How can they help me? She looked back at me and said, ‘you would be surprised what people can do. There are great people out there.’ Now I ask myself, what hasn’t this program done for me and my daughter? I went in knowing nothing and had such low self esteem, but on my first visit, my case worker said to me ‘no one is born a mother. Its all a learning process.’ Those were the words that I needed to hear. Although I was still scared and sometimes still depressed, I started to learn and learning made me feel better. Family Services has given me more than knowledge: they have changed my entire outlook on life! Thanks to them I am now a young, empowered parent.”
“I sought out counseling for myself after it was clear that my marriage was broken. I was not sure how big the problems were but I knew I needed help. My counselor helped me to take a step back and really evaluate the issues. I was able to go through the process of terminating my marriage with her support. I saw the toll that my marriage was having on my then five year old son. Again, my counselor was a source of comfort. With her, we have explored ways to deal with my son’s anger through play therapy, and he’s made great strides in his coping skills for social interactions at school and elsewhere. I see my son continuing in counseling to provide him with a third party outlet but increasingly we are talking and he is opening up more and more with me. My therapist continues to provide me with the tools to assist in our conversations including books and websites. It’s going to be a long healing process for my little boy but I’m confident with my therapist. I know family counseling when my younger son is older will benefit us, as well as continuing the skills and tools we have learned from Family Service. Thank you for setting us back on track!”