By Melissa Moore-Randall
Nervous excitement filled the Revere High School cafeteria on Wednesday evening as about 50 RHS freshmen were introduced to their mentors from the Big Brother Big Sister of Eastern Massachusetts (BBBSEM) organization.
The mentor program was coordinated by RHS Principal Christopher Bowen.
“Revere High is so grateful to the many community members who have stepped up to support our 9th grade students in this program. I’m beyond excited to see life-long relationships being formed tonight between mentors and mentees! Mentoring has the power to shape lives, and to be here at the start to see this kick off is a special thing.”
During the celebration, freshman students were introduced to their mentors, professionals in the Greater Boston community, for the first time. Matches were made based on each student’s personal needs, interests, and career tracks. Mentors will see their mentees through their high school experiences into their chosen pathway, whether it be college, trade school, entrepreneurship, or the military.
Along with Principal Bowen, the program came to fruition due to many different partners and community leaders, including Terrence McCarron, Chief Program Officer at BBBSEM; Lorena Escolero, City of Revere Community Development Planner; Niklas Jordow, Digital Transformation Officer at W.B. Mason Inc.; Duche Romeus, Police Officer at Revere Police Department; Fay Moy, Sr. Project Manager at Mass General Brigham/Dana Farber Institute; and Jacob Rosenberg, Physician at General MassHealth.
Terrence McCarron, Chief Program Officer at BBBSEM, is excited about bringing the program to RHS.
“I oversee all of the Eastern Massachusetts mentoring initiatives, like the one being launched at Revere High School," said McCarron. "I led the selection process that resulted in Revere High School becoming our newest community partner. I am thrilled to be working with Principal Chris Bowen, John Perella at City Hall, Representative Jessica Giannino at the State House, and, of course, the wonderful staff at Revere High School. We believe we have a dream scenario with the strongest possible partners and with a set of great students who are invested in their future."
McCarron added, "Usually it takes time for a grassroots program like this to take hold, but Revere leaders and community members are stepping up right away to make sure that every high school student who wants mental health support and a career pathway guide has someone in their corner. The students are raising their hands to get involved too. More than 100 students have expressed their interest. It’s been inspiring to watch. We still have a few mentoring positions left for this academic year, so I want to encourage readers to check out www.emassbigs.org and start the process of joining our team of community champions in Revere.”
Freshman Damien Rivera has been in the BBBS program for three years. When his mentor’s mother became sick and could no longer mentor, he decided to join the RHS Program.
“It gives me the courage to speak my mind and gives me the guidance to focus in life and in school,” said Rivera.
Rivera's classmate, Kenneth Palacious added, “I think it will be very beneficial for me, bring out my potential and help me raise the bar in life."
Lorena Escolero, who is the City of Revere Community Development Planner and Conservation Agent, is mentoring this year.
“The combination of navigating the difficulties of being a teenager and the added trauma of the impacts of the pandemic has disproportionately affected low-income households, especially those of color," said Escolero. "Recognizing this glaring disparity is what compels me to contribute to the healing and empowerment of the young minds within my community, alongside my esteemed fellow volunteers. Having personally participated in a mentorship program akin to the one I am now engaged in, I am acutely aware of the pivotal role a mentor assumes in the life of a child hailing from underprivileged circumstances. It is my fervent aspiration to impart a positive influence upon my little sister, instilling within her a sense of encouragement and unwavering confidence, propelling her towards accomplishments in high school and beyond."
To learn more about the program, visit them on social media at #ItTakesLittleToBeBig Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts on Facebook (@emassbigs) Twitter (@emassbigs), or Instagram (@emassbigs).
See more photos here.