Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mentors Inspire Me

Thank you all for your support with my campaign. To date I have raised $1200.00 towards my $3,000 goal to support Pyramid Atlantic programs that serve artists, youth and bring the community together through the arts.

Every week for 16 weeks I will send out an email to inspire you (and me) to reach my goal!

So, week 5: what inspires me: mentors

We mentor many people at Pyramid Atlantic. Artists mentor other artists, & staff mentor interns. Mentoring is a part of who we are. I know mentoring is popular, but I remember mentoring before mentoring was cool. I was in the 6th grade. It was 1982. I was a kid who's parents would fight. I didn't want to be home because their was nothing there for me. My dad was not around, he was working. When he was around, my parents would argue. So I spent alot of time away from home.

That year, I met my first mentor. A man named Jose Gonzalez. He was Ivette Gonzalez's dad. I had a crush on her like you would not believe. Me and every other boy in the 8th grade. I used to ride my ten-speed 2 miles to her house to give her 2 dozen carnations. Yep, big time crush. Jose was her dad. He worked for Sears, he drove a truck and wore a uniform with his name stitched on the pocket. He fixed air conditioners. I think he knew I had a crush on his daughter. How could he not, I had brought over 2 dozen carnations. He asked me my name and gave me a firm handshake. I remember we joked about us both having the same name. I remember seeing him kiss his wife and joke around with his two daughters. I remember him helping them with their homework. He would come to school and help with the science fair or work on the carnival. He always made a point of saying hello and patting me on the back.

Jose invited me and my brother Rob to go and see the Baltimore Orioles play a game in Miami one Spring. I had never been to a baseball game before and neither had my brother. I didn't know who the Orioles were, but Jose did. He pointed the players out to me and told me who Cal Ripken Jr. was. It was cold and rainy and I remember feeling really sick, but I didn't want to go home. I did not want the night to end. I got older and graduated the 8th grade and went to a different high school and lost touch with Jose, but I have never forgotten him. He took time out of his life, when my life was not what I had wished it was, and comforted me. He always had a kind word. He shared stories with me about his family, his love of baseball. He showed me that a man can be strong and compassionate. He showed me another way, when there was no one else around to do that for me.

That is what mentors do. They encourage you, they don't stop believing in you. They let you know that its going to be alright. I have had many mentors: Cornelia Dozier, Carol Cadby, Ruth Newton, Dale Moffit, Paul Walsh, Charlie Helfert, Eve Roberts, David Barrera, Denise Laffer, John Gibson, Deb Hecht, Michael Bernard, Alec Simpson, Tony Gittens, Regina Romero, Jackie Ogg, Richard Kamenitzer. They have all played important roles in my life and each one, showed me another way and gently nudged me in that direction. I am the man I am today because of all of them.

So, today I took my two boys to Opening Day at Nationals Park. First opening today for me and for them. I attached a photo we took. I pointed out the starting pitcher, Livan Hernandez, and the starting catcher, Ivan Rodriguez, to my boys. We cheered as the lineup was introduced We had hot dogs, pretzels & crackers jacks. Its a day I will never forget and I hope they don't either.

I hope I inspired you.

Help me reach my goal by clicking here to donate, any amounts makes a difference to Pyramid Atlantic and the community we serve.

Thanks & feel free to forward to your friends.


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