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Tucson mentors help kids tackle issues about race and the pandemic

Mentoring programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters are starting to rebound during pandemic. The organization is tacking a few issues to help young kids in our community.
Posted at 6:44 AM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 09:44:42-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Mentoring programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters are starting to rebound during pandemic. The organization is tacking a few issues to help young kids in our community.

“We’ve talked about politics, talked about school. We’ve talked about what she wants to be when she grows up," said Gabriela Cervantes about her little, Alayna Gonzalez.

Through the pandemic, many of their conversations and visits have had to happen virtually. "There are certain songs that we listen to on the radio and when a particular song comes up, I'll just pull over and we have this whole choreography thing going on. Little things like that that are really difficult to do virtually," Cervantes said.

Now with businesses opening back up, this pair is diving into new adventures once again. "We did the Kartchner Caverns which was kind of fun since it was her first time there and we were just talking about now that the movies are open, maybe trying to something like that."

Cervantes is not only a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters, but she is also leading its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Right now, the organization is taking part in national conversations about race, relationships, and resources.

“I was asking her what she’s heard about the protests. How she feels about it. If there’s anything like that that has been talked about in her family or with her friends and sort of what her opinion about it is," Cervantes said. That's how mentors can play a crucial role while the country deals with turmoil and social unrest.

"Dealing with different situations in life so when a situation comes to me, I know how to deal with it professionally and maturely," Alayna said. Whatever those situations may be, Cervantes wants to be there to help. Something she wished she had growing up. “I really could of used having a relationship or mentorship or friendship with an adult who could of guide me a little bit better."

Littles are learning life lessons from their mentors. Alayna said,"For me to start learning things experiencing new things with Gabriela. It's something I like to cherish." Cervantes is cherishing every moment too. “I feel that I get as much or more than what the little does. And it sounds kind of crazy, but just having that relationship with a child being able to give back is so rewarding."

Whether it's for homework help or a mentorship, Big Brothers Big Sisters is working on new programs that will allow mentors to reach young kids virtually. Also, more national conversations about race will be taking place. Click here to learn more about what the organizatoin is doing and how to volunteer.