By United Way Inland Empire
(Victor Valley)–Anna Garcia first became a mentor with Upland-based Reach Out, one of our Mentor Connection partners, in 2002 and has had the privilege of observing the very rewarding difference resulting from her volunteer service over the past decade.
Although Anna had never been a mentor previously, she thought it would be a good way to make a positive difference in the life of a young person…and, in her words, “it turned out to be a great choice.”
When Anna first met the three sisters she would come to know very well over the following years, she described them as innocent, timid and a bit scared. Like all children who were part of the mentoring program, these three girls faced instability at home and desperately needed a committed, caring adult to invest in their lives. The girls’ parents had recently moved away from the area to find work and made the difficult decision to leave their children to be cared for by an aunt in Upland. Having experienced years of living in poverty, all three were underweight, knew only limited English and had much catching up to do academically.
During Anna’s first visit with the girls at Upland Middle School, she used her Spanish skills to break the ice and began getting to know each of the three young girls. She quickly learned that the girls each loved Chinese food, which became a regular outing for the group. Over the coming years, Anna would spend time with them on a regular basis and introduced the girls to many new experiences including ice skating, bowling, an airplane ride and a trip to the Getty Museum (see photo).Anna shared that the girls were polite and appreciative every time she would pick them up and take them on outings. She got to know each one’s individual personality and they became like a part of her family over the coming years.
Anna became a crucial lifeline and support in their lives and she is proud that she was able to see all three girls successfully graduate from high school! Anna continues to keep in contact with the girls and now says, “it was one of the greatest experiences of my life!”
Thank you, Anna, for helping to change the lives of those three girls. For more information on local mentoring or tutoring opportunities, view Mentor Connection volunteer opportunities on our website at HYPERLINK “http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=r6oik5bab&et=1107392426739&s=9663&e=0014lnX_zyqqScXowgbEROFgHyGc3cEf6azIxP4Ndobxu-Ao3PehpTJnyrjygz3pL3il0Qfhe-6GHblYtvRr_ML1WFzCN-i8GfWIiLgCZKaLrI=” \t “_blank” www.IEUW.org.