Mentor Spotlight – Katelyn Biancamano
In observance of National Mentoring Month, this week we would like to introduce mentor Katelyn Biancamano, Program Coordinator/Analyst, Staples Contract & Commercial in Framingham, MA.
Created by the Harvard School of Public Health and MENTOR in 2001, National Mentoring Month, held in January, is focused on raising national awareness on mentoring. Local partners across the country including Mass Mentoring Partnership, individuals, businesses, government agencies, schools, faith communities and nonprofits, work together to leverage the national campaign in their communities.
Q: Tell us about your involvement with mentoring.
A: I have mentored with the Mazie Memorial Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping aspiring Framingham and Waltham High School students recognize their full potential through a goal-oriented mentor program. The youth selected for the program face tremendous adversity for reasons beyond their control, and they have to be recommended by a teacher or adult staff at their school. I was matched with my “mentee” Thais in 2010, at which time she was a 3rd year sophomore. I was able to attend her graduation in June 2012, and we still keep in contact and see each other regularly.
Q: Why is mentoring important to you?
A: Mentoring was a rewarding experience for me. I was lucky to have very supportive parents growing up, and I wasn’t faced with the hardships that the students in the program encounter. I think that everyone should have at least one stable and supportive figure in their life that they can talk to about anything. Something as basic as having a trustworthy person to talk to can make an incredible difference in a young person’s life.
Q: What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had mentoring?
A: The most rewarding experience I had mentoring was attending my mentee’s high school graduation. Thais faced several personal and educational obstacles, yet was able to persevere and be a stronger and more confident person in the end. I was so proud to get to be a part of her life and sit back and watch as she recognized her own strengths that she already had. Although we had many great experiences together, seeing Thais receive her diploma was the most rewarding, and for me encapsulated our relationship and time together.
Q: Why do you think other associates should become mentors?
A: Mentoring youth is a powerful mechanism to make a positive change to our society and surrounding communities. So many young people are faced with situations that put them at risk of not living up to their potential. Mentoring provides the support, advice, and friendship that can be all that is needed for at-risk youth to reach their potential and to make educated decisions to stay in school and engage in behavior/actions that lead them closer to their individual goals. I can honestly say I have gotten as much, if not more, out of the mentoring program as my mentee has. I never expected my experience mentoring to be so rewarding.