Members of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs Mentor Young Leaders at Casa Romero
Hope is at the heart of all tCI programs. Through education, arts, sports, tutoring, nutrition… the Claretian Initiative’s programs work to end the cycle of poverty and violence by creating more positive options for children, teens, and families in need. And this last April, the president and several of the board members of the Chicago chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) visited Holy Cross Parish’s Casa Romero to spread hope through mentoring.
NSHMBA’s board members met with several of Casa Romero’s young adult tutors, Casa Romero’s Program Director, and members of the tCI team to share stories of their own lives—all having grown up in similar neighborhoods—and to begin building business-mentoring relationships with the community’s young leaders.
Their visit began with a tour of Casa Romero—its classrooms, computer lab, outdoor garden, and kitchen and dining area that make up the Kids Meal Program. The board members then gathered with the young leaders, each of whom introduced themselves, their work at Casa Romero, and their aspirations for the future. As each young adult leader spoke about his or her role at Casa Romero, their passion was obvious—they love what they do and care deeply about the kids and teens they work with.
NSHMBA members share their stories with Casa Romero's young tutors
After learning a bit about these young tutors, each member of the NSHMBA board shared his or her personal narrative. They talked openly about their personal struggles growing up in poverty, raising children as single parents, paying for and succeeding in higher education, and growing professionally. As the board members told their stories, the young people’s faces began to light up, as they could see connections between themselves now and these highly successful professionals. They began to really feel what could be possible for them in a new way.
After each board member spoke, the group discussed in more detail the practical aspects of education and entering careers, funding options for school, and the value of being part of a network. The panel ended with everyone sharing lunch. Board members engaged the young tutors in one-on-one conversations about their lives and aspirations and asked how they could help. No tutor left without a list of email addresses and phone numbers to serve as the next step in these new, important mentoring relationships.
This visit by these NSHMBA Chicago board members perfectly highlighted the message at the core of so many of tCI’s programs—with good choices and an invested support system, things can be different for young people in at-risk communities. These young leaders are already well on their way because of their choices and the tireless work of Holy Cross’ staff, and now they have a new network of successful professionals who are looking to help guide them in the long term and who truly want to see them succeed.
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