By Su L., Current AALEAD Mentor
Photos Courtesy of Tina Ngo, AALEAD Staff
Thank you all for celebrating National Mentoring Month with us! A huge shout out to Su and all of our former and current mentors and volunteers who have invested their time and energy into our youth. The impact that you have made on our students is immeasurable, and we can’t wait to celebrate again with you next year! Thank you so much for all that you do. We hope you enjoyed this series, and Happy National Mentoring Month! -Tina Ngo, Mentoring & Volunteer Program Coordinator
In 2013, I found myself in a great position to be a volunteer: I had a strong commitment to give back to a community in need and the time to do so. While I always had the former, the latter always seemed to be out of reach for one reason or another. Through the company I worked for then, Deloitte, I found Asian American LEAD (AALEAD). Their mission resonated with me, and I signed up to be a mentor. I knew I wanted to be a mentor because I have seen the value of mentoring first hand—a cousin-turned mentor who guided me through my first year of college and a supervisor-turned mentor that exemplified what a leader should be.
Li is my mentee. She is an intelligent, sweet, fun, and driven 17-year-old. Since Li is an excellent student, our goals have geared towards doing community service together, trying new things (we are currently trying to tackle a list of ethnic foods we haven’t tried before), and working towards Li’s next exciting milestone: college. We’ve also spent many times talking over frozen yogurt or hot chocolate—some of my favorite moments with her because we can simply catch up, listen to each other’s stories, and relax. It’s also these moments where I feel humbled to have a mentee— especially that she can come to me and share what’s on her mind.
Before I met Li, I certainly had my doubts in my ability to be a good mentor. I like to think that our time together has proven me wrong—we’ve managed to learn together what works for us. Collectively, Li and the AALEAD Mentoring Program have given me the opportunity to work with great people, have some fun (of course!), make new connections, and strengthen my confidence as an effective helper. I’ve also watched Li grow personally and couldn’t be more proud of the young adult she is becoming. It has been a wonderful experience thus far, and I look forward to all that’s in store for us in the upcoming year.