For seven years on a weekly basis during lunch periods, SpringBoard mentor Joe Ivers has met with his mentee, Gustavo. A retired banker, Ivers has used his management and leadership expertise to instill professional and positive values in his mentee.
During his career, Ivers motivated his employees with positive affirmations such as “leave your attitude at the door,” “we can fix anything,” and “never give up,” which have now been imparted to his mentee.
Gustavo said one of the top things his mentor has taught him is “to be the best you can be.”
“He has helped me make good decisions and build bridges with my teachers,” said Gustavo, a senior at Northbrook High School in Spring Branch ISD.
They first met at Northbrook Middle School in 2013 after Ivers heard about the need for mentors from the St. John Vianney Catholic Church newsletter. He said to himself, “I’ve got to make a difference in the life of a young person.”
Gustavo was just learning English at the time. During weekly meetings with Ivers, they played board games over lunch and practiced conversation skills.
“He has helped me a lot,” said Gustavo. “I can talk to him, and learn from someone older and wiser. I am intrigued about what old people think.” His mentor laughed at this comment!
Ivers has come to realize that by sharing his wisdom and advice with a young person there is a “multiplier effect,” because what is instilled in one person can then be shared with others.
“We talk about how to handle problems and arguments,” said Gustavo. “I have learned to think before I say things.” As the oldest child in his family, Gustavo now models positive traits and decision-making for his two younger brothers.
In the past, Ivers has also mentored other students in the Collegiate Challenge program at Stratford High, and another student in the SpringBoard program who has since graduated. “I firmly believe in helping young people,” he said.
Ivers and Gustavo plan to keep in touch after graduation. The soon-to-be NHS graduate plans to work for a year in Florida before heading off to college. His goal is to study earth science and become a Volcanologist. He hopes to combine this profession with his photography skills to take pictures of volcanos.
The mentor and mentee offer similar advice to other adults who are considering becoming a mentor: “Just take a leap of faith,” said Ivers of his positive experiences as a mentor.
“Just try it,” said Gustavo. “You are going to like it!”
If you are interested in being a “multiplier” in the SpringBoard or Collegiate Challenge mentoring programs, there are students who need the wisdom and encouragement you have to share. Please contact email@example.com or 713-251-2212.
Submitted by Becky Wuerth, SBISD Communications