By Tippa C., Current AALEAD Mentor
Photos Courtesy of Tippa C., Current AALEAD Mentor
Every January, the Asian American LEAD (AALEAD) Mentoring Program celebrates National Mentoring Month. National Mentoring Month is not only a time for us to honor all of our mentors and how incredible they are, but also a time for them to reflect on their experiences and how much they and their mentees have grown over the past year. Though it is only National Mentoring Month once a year, we are thankful for our mentors year-round and could not do the work that we do without their support and commitment. As the end of the month draws near, we wanted to highlight a few of their stories and the impact that they have made on our youth. Check out Tippa’s story below! Thank you to Tippa and all of our amazing mentors – you continue to inspire us every single day. We hope you enjoy, and Happy National Mentoring Month! -Tina Ngo, Mentoring & Volunteer Program Coordinator
I began mentoring with AALEAD in 2011, and the experience has been rewarding from the moment my mentee, Shirley, and I first met! Initially, I was looking to be a tutor for students that needed some help in school, but I stumbled upon AALEAD’s Mentoring Program which sounded even better and has exceeded my expectations of what mentoring programs can do (even I get excited about tours at the Capitol and Kennedy Center concerts!). In all seriousness, I am amazed at the AALEAD staff and how they run the program while still making it fun and flexible for mentors, mentees, and their families. What really appealed to me were the efforts to include families (especially parents) into the program so that collectively we can all be advocates for youth development.
I feel as if I’ve known Shirley for such a long time. Shirley is soft-spoken, silly, passionate, and caring. We’ve shared stories of each other’s families, our goals that we aspire to achieve, milestones that make us nearly sisters, and silly moments of touring Marco, the piñata (see photo below), around DC before he was sacrificed to a group of young girls for candy.
Whether it’s today or 10 years from now, I hope that Shirley is able to look back and know that she has a community behind her and someone that she can call to chat or hang out with. I hope that I have given her encouragement to pursue her dreams, the insight to value family and relationships, but above all, the belief that she should feel proud of who she is and who she will become.
Through AALEAD, I have met some incredible people and have learned so much about myself as well. It’s great to be a part of an organization that fosters culture and growth, and I couldn’t have found a better organization than AALEAD to share these moments with.