When Mary Perez retired in 2014 after 16 years of teaching at Hollibrook Elementary, she wanted to continue helping students.
As a teacher, Perez had seen the positive impact the SpringBoard Mentoring Program had on her students and wanted to be part of that.
Perez began by mentoring one of her former students, fourth-grader Kimberly Lopez. Perez recalls that Kimberly needed some guidance, as she had recently arrived in the United States and was learning English.
“Kimberly was a great student and I am very happy I took the opportunity to become her mentor,” said Perez. “Mentors help guide students and provide them additional support in their journey to success.”
When Kimberly went to middle school, Perez followed. She continued to visit her once a week and helped her develop skills, make better decisions and gain new perspectives.
Today, Perez continues to be Kimberly’s mentor as she finishes her senior year at Northbrook High School.
“As a fourth-grade student, I needed extra support and Ms. Perez was always there to provide guidance,” said Kimberly. “I’m grateful for her and all the advice she has given me throughout my time at Spring Branch ISD. She has gotten me out of my comfort zone and always encourages me to always try new things.”
As a mentor, Perez has motivated Kimberly to expand her Limitless Curiosity and never stop learning and growing.
Kimberly recently started a nursing program and she hopes to continue on a nursing path post-graduation. She notes that Perez’s guidance has helped her discover her passions and shape her plans.
SBISD’s SpringBoard Mentoring Program assists students in third through 12th grade. Mentors meet with their students once a week and provide them encouragement, support, guidance and offer hope for a bright future, reinforcing the Core Characteristics of a T-2-4 Ready Graduate.
Perez also mentored two additional students throughout their elementary years. She mentions that mentoring is very rewarding, as she has seen her mentees overcome challenges and grow throughout their time together.
“I have also learned a lot from my mentees,” added Perez. “They have given me fresh perspectives and helped me develop my leadership skills. But the biggest reward has been knowing that my advice has helped guide someone.”
For more than eight years, Kimberly has learned much from Perez. So much, that she asked Perez to mentor her niece.
“Ms. Perez has been a role-model to me. I think my niece will benefit equally from the same guidance,” added Kimberly. “I look forward to keeping in touch with Ms. Perez, she will always be a very important person in my life.”
Perez hopes to continue to be part of the SpringBoard Mentoring Program and encourages others to become mentors.
“Mentors are very important in a student’s life, especially as they are developing and actively gaining new knowledge,” said Perez. “Through one hour each week, you can make a big difference.”
To sign up or become a mentor, visit the SpringBoard Mentoring Program site.