By Rick Folbaum
CBS4 is committed to bringing you stories about why mentoring matters. Today, CBS4’s Rick Folbaum introduces us to Lourdes and Cynthia who were brought together by the Big Brother Big Sisters School to Work Program.
Lourdes Aguila is a senior at Miami Senior High School and her mentor is Cynthia Nunes, who works for the Florida Marlins.
They were paired as part of Big Brothers Big Sisters School to Work program, which allows volunteers to mentor young people as part of their regular work day. The Marlins have taken part since 2015.
“I work a lot. I’m at the ballpark all the time. So when I heard about the Big Brother Big Sister School to Work program, I wanted to sign up right away, because I can do it anytime at work,” explained Nunes.
For Lourdes, adjusting to having a mentor took a little more getting used to.
“I was really quiet at first. I was nervous even to talk to her. But like I always do, I started cracking jokes. It’s always how I talk to people. And as I got more comfortable I started telling her about my interests,” said Lourdes.
Lourdes, whose parents were both born in Cuba, initially thought she wanted to study law, mainly to please them, but Cynthia helped her realize that pursuing her artistic interests might be more fulfilling.
“We meet every month, and we’re able to discuss next steps. Every time we meet, it’s kind of like we always have a recap for the first 10 minutes and then we figure out next steps for our next meeting,” explained Cynthia.
“Mentoring has changed me by allowing me to find different outlets. I have all these opportunities that I haven’t really realized before. And based on my interactions with other people, I realize I have all these opportunities that I wouldn’t have found on my own,” said Lourdes.
One of those opportunities was visiting the Miami Marlins Creative Services Department. It was in their office, meeting others, who work for the team, that Lourdes discovered a passion for computer design.
It’s a meeting that wouldn’t have happened without Cynthia.
“She hooked me up with a meeting and I saw all the posters they make, and they have a board, that was something that felt really comfortable to me. It felt nice and I realized that was something I want to go into,” explained Lourdes.
For Cynthia, mentoring Lourdes has been a learning and growth experience as well.
“The time you devote, you do get a lot back. That’s something that’s been the most fun for me, to tell my story and seeing how she’s able to learn from it,” said Cynthia.
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