Mentor, mentor: Area professionals share their wisdom, support

Role models are figures who actively bring change and inspire people to achieve new heights. This summer and during the first weeks of school, area business persons shared their wisdom on and off the job to help students make the right choices and aspire them to achieve great things.

We are grateful to the 30 volunteers who shared their time and talent with our students this summer. Some volunteers helped students learn the important job skills such as speed networking and customer service. Others shared their entrepreneurial success stories. And many gathered in the early morning hours to ride the buses with freshman and other students who were joining new business partners.

A highlight: A cafeteria filled with incoming freshman sat spellbound as CRSM building architect Juan Gabriel Moreno shared his inspiring journey, being born Bogotá, Columbia and immigrating with his mother and brother to Los Angeles. His dream was to someday build a company from scratch with a mission to create buildings that help elevate communities.

His mother’s courage and the sacrifices she made to give her sons a better chance in life left a permanent mark on Moreno, and drove his passion to carry out the plan his mother set out for him to make his mark on the world and reach back to others along the way. He encouraged students to do the same: “Cristo Rey is a very special place with many opportunities for you and I hope you will go after them all. Already, because of all of this and the community that surrounds you, you are ahead of the game.”

Sharing her frontline experience as a top retailer, CRSM assistant development director, Candice Tonon, former Vice President and Store Manager of Macy’s, taught five classes in one day to freshman on “Customer Service and Communication Basics.”

Students were especially grateful. Consider the words of Paolo, a senior: “Thank you for taking the time out of your day to help make sure students who were assigned to a new job went to the correct place. Even as a senior, it can be very overwhelming coming into a new job; please know that all the students from Cristo Rey appreciate you! I love how encouraging all the volunteers from my past four years here have been.”