Bianca, a thirteen-year-old teen who joined The Boys and Girls Club because of the OJP program, and now an active member to this day. Bianca’s personality is a natural leader, ready to take charge and find solutions to any problem. Gumercinda, Bianca’s mother has health issues and sometimes unable to leave home. While recruiting Bianca to become a member we were unsure how she would be able to get home or picked up from The Boys and Girls Club.

Due to her mother’s determination to let Bianca participate in the program and DHS assistance; transportation became not an issue as her sister-in-law was able to pick her up when needed. Beginning this program was my first session as an OJP mentor. I was learning this new role as well; not sure what to expect and still learning the requirements for the program. Also, Bianca would be the only teen in the program. I was unsure how she would adapt to the other younger members. As soon as lessons and activities began, Bianca surpassed my expectations for a mentee and was just beyond great. Not only as a member but as a role model to the younger members. During activities or meetings when all mentees would meet up members would notice Bianca’s absence and ask for her.

I believe this was because she had such an impact on those around her you would notice when she was not present. She did not hesitate to help other members or afraid to call out members for not following the club rules. She was always participating and making sure she put her input in lessons we were learning, such as Toolbox Tools or community service ideas on how we can give back. She was not afraid to say what she thought or asking a question and being wrong. Bianca began telling me during our one on ones how she would use the Toolbox tools and how they were helpful. For example, a toolbox tool are tools taught to mentees to use for themselves. Such like the Garbage Can tool, which mentees should throw away any negativity they may encounter. Along with, not dreading on a problem that is going to make the member feel angry or feel worthless. Bianca began visiting me more on her free time while she was here at The Boys and Girls Club and opening up to me and asking for some advice. Bianca and I created a bond from the OJP program and I was happy to know I was a person she was able to come to.

One day Bianca looked upset and not herself I pulled her aside and she was able to let me know what was wrong and let me know more about her personal life. She let me know her fear of disappointing her mom and informing me how she had lost her brother. As well as not having a father in the household and the problems Bianca faces, she seems to always have a smile on her face and full of energy to spread to those around her. After this talk, I noticed an even greater change in our relationship as mentee and mentor, as she had become a person I genuinely care for and want to see succeed in her years to come.