New Mentorship Program Links San Bernardino Valley College Students to Role Models
San Bernardino Valley College has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to help 30 college students find mentors who will help them persist in school and enter the workforce. The partnership launched on Nov. 8 with an event at San Manuel.
Students who qualify for the Valley-Bound Commitment program also qualify for the mentorship opportunity. As a part of the program, students receive books and tuition, cultural experiences, and field trips paid for by San Manuel. They will also be paired with trained mentors to guide and support them in their educational and vocational journey. All the mentors have a bachelor’s or advanced degree.
“Young people sometimes need to see themselves in the workplace before they believe in themselves in the workplace,” noted Jennifer O’Farrell, Chief External Affairs Officer for Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
The goal is to open doors of opportunity for local students by helping them build a professional network before they graduate, said Angel Rodriguez, Associate Vice Chancellor of Government Relations and Strategic Communications for the San Bernardino Community College District. Ultimately, he said, the program will prepare students for graduation, transfer, and good-paying careers.
“We connect mentees to mentors so they can learn and grow,” O’Farrell said. She said she is excited to work with the team at San Manuel, who has helped select the 30 volunteer mentors who have been selected, trained and ready to go.
Mentorship has been shown to significantly increase persistence in school as well as long-term career success. O’Farrell said students are matched with mentors based with compatible life experiences, so students have a trusted adult role model to guide them.
Nicole Sasse, a public relations specialist at San Manuel, said she started out at Victor Valley College and then transferred to Cal State San Bernardino for her bachelor’s degree. “I understand firsthand how difficult it can be trying to figure it all out on your own,” she said. “My hope is that I can provide that support for my mentee on their journey through school and into their career.”
Aileen Cruz Anastacio, a student at San Bernardino Valley College, said she is looking forward to this new program. “My parents didn’t go to college and sometimes there are questions they can’t answer,” she said. “It will be nice to have someone to answer my questions and provide me with guidance.”