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Pouring Into the Next Generation

Investing In Local Students Takes Time, Attention, and Heart

Article by Rey Lopez

Photography by Jessi Edison, Miguel Martinez

Originally published in Boerne Lifestyle

While you may be familiar with Maya Angelou, you might need to learn about individuals like  Benjamin Mays or Benjamin Graham. All three share a common bond: they served as mentors to some of the most influential people in their respective fields.

Poet Maya Angelou encouraged Oprah Winfrey to find her voice in the media industry and leverage her platform to impact the world. As president of Morehouse College, Benjamin Mays mentored Martin Luther King, Jr. as a leader and challenged him to pursue a doctoral degree. Investor and author Benjamin Graham shared his investing knowledge with Warren Buffett, who later built a financial empire. If you delve into the stories of the highest achievers in any field, you’ll likely find someone who recognized their potential early on and dedicated time to helping them realize it.

Students in Boerne have people like that in their lives, thanks to various mentorship programs at work in the community. In Boerne schools, students have Krista Pomeroy and Stephanie Bautista in their corner. Pomeroy serves as the executive director of Student Support Services for the Boerne ISD, while  Bautista works as a Student Support Specialist and coordinates the district’s Mentor Program. Together, they ensure Boerne’s students have access to mentorship opportunities and can even become mentors themselves. 

“Chances are, if you reflect on your life, you have had a mentor,” Pomeroy says. “Be it a family member, a friend, a coach, a teacher... someone has stepped in to mentor you on something that you wanted to learn or to provide support when needed.” A mentor can guide, support, and advise students as they navigate their educational journey, providing valuable insights and expertise. They help students identify strengths and weaknesses, improve skills and knowledge, and provide networking opportunities.

Pomeroy believes that we’ve all had mentors, and Bautista agrees. “At some point in our lives, we have all experienced mentoring. There is often a positive role model that has guided, coached, supported, motivated, and cared for us personally or professionally as we navigate our world.” But she says it’s not one-size-fits-all—Pomeroy emphasizes the need for tailored mentoring experiences. “The needs are as unique as the child. By partnering mentees with a caring adult, we help students grow and realize their potential at solving problems, setting goals, making decisions, pursuing skills and talents, and trusting others.”

Mentorship goes beyond just improving a student’s prospects; it’s a life-changing experience. It fosters confidence and resilience, aiding in navigating life’s challenges,  and provides emotional support and encouragement from someone who has walked similar paths.

However, the challenge of finding a mentor comes with its own obstacles. Pomeroy points out, “At the onset of a mentoring relationship, it can be difficult to establish trust if the mentor and mentee have never met. In any mentorship—new or old—it can be difficult not to offer advice constantly. This is especially true because you want the mentee to be happy and successful.”

Theo Combos, student minister at the Northwest Campus of Mission City Church, is dedicated to mentoring young people in a spiritual setting. He emphasizes the shared responsibility between mentor and mentee. “A mentor can only be effective if the mentee wants to grow,” Combos explains. “You get what you put in. The mentor should put in effort to inspire, encourage, and push their mentee, but at the end of the day, it’s a choice the mentee needs to make. If they want to grow, follow the advice of the mentor, and continue to make changes in their life, it has to be a decision. As a mentor, I want to lead and guide those who are interested in growing.”

Pomeroy, Bautista, and Combos each have distinct approaches to the mentoring process, which has served the students of the Boerne community well. “First, focus on the interests and goals of the mentee. Mentors don’t set the agenda,” Pomeroy outlines. “Second, be an active listener with an open mind. Mentorships aren’t about judgment. Leave your personal beliefs and values out of the relationship. And finally, have fun. Laugh and learn together.”

Bautista emphasizes the importance of a non-judgmental approach. “Being open-minded, listening, and having a caring approach to the mentee is the basis for mentoring,” Bautista says. “When mentoring students, we must suspend our personal beliefs, opinions, and judgments in order to fully support the mentee and maximize their potential.”

Self-awareness is the starting point for Combos. “Firstly, I have to humble myself. Although I am older than the youth I mentor, I have to recognize that there are still problems and flaws in my own life that I have to work on. This helps me maintain a growth mindset but also helps me not have too large of an ego. I approach mentoring out of love. If I love these students and care about them and their wellbeing, then I will naturally be a better mentor.”

Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Young Life, and Hill Country Daily Bread are additional organizations supporting local school students. Volunteers in these programs strive to make both a social and spiritual impact on the next generation. With caring adults fostering mentoring relationships and investing in the lives of teenagers in the Boerne community, the possibilities for their future are limitless. 

SIDEBAR:

BISD Mentor Program
boerneisd.net/mentor
830-357-2065
stephanie.bautista@boerneisd.net

Fellowship of Christian Athletes (Alamo FCA)
alamofca.org
toddjohnson@fca.org

Young Life (Boerne)
boerne.younglife.org
boerneyounglife@gmail.com

Hill Country Daily Bread
hillcountrydailybread.com/stand-by-me/be-a-stand-by-me-mentor
830-755-5200
standbyme@hillcountrydailybread.org

Mission City Church (Northwest)
missioncity.church/campuses/northwest-campus
210-377-3030

 

“Chances are, if you reflect on your life, you have had a mentor.” - Krista Pomeroy

“We must suspend our personal beliefs, opinions, and judgments in order to… maximize their potential.” - Stephanie Bautista

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