Jasmin: From Mentee to Mentor
As she walked into B:E with her grandmother on a crisp fall day of her senior year of high school, Jasmin Lopez remembers thinking, “Why do I have to be here?”
At the time, Jasmin was living with her grandmother, who had heard about the program from their social worker. “My grandmother thought it would be good for me,” Jasmin says, “but I didn’t really want to go.”
It didn’t take long at B:E before her attitude changed, Jasmin says. “To start off, everyone at the front desk was really friendly. My grandmother doesn’t speak English fluently, and they were really respectful of that.”
After she heard all the ways B:E could help her achieve her goals, including the chance to earn a $500 stipend for graduating, Jasmin says, “I thought ‘Wow, this is so good, I can’t just throw this opportunity away.’ It really motivated me to work hard and get good grades so I could go on to college because I saw how they could help me even after I was in college.”
Now 19 and a sophomore with a 3.4 GPA at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, Jasmin still checks in with Transition Specialist Isreah Campbell. “Isreah texts me to check in,” Jasmin says, “and when I come home to Oakland we meet up in a café to catch up.”
B:E’s support helps Jasmin focus on her studies without having to stress about finances. “B:E’s book money program is so helpful for me,” Jasmin says, “and they even send me scholarships to apply for.”
While the practical support is extremely valuable, Jasmin says what she most appreciates about B:E is that she can talk freely about her feelings. “I am so thankful that I can talk with Isreah because sometimes I don’t want to talk about my personal situation with people at school,” she says. “I want to talk with someone who’ll just listen, and Isreah does that for me. When I ask her advice, she’ll help me lay out the options, and decide what’s best.”
The kind of motivation and inspiration Jasmin has received from B:E is exactly what she wants to provide to others in her own career. To that end, she is earning a degree in elementary education, currently student teaching at a local school. This summer she’ll work at an enrichment program in Oakland for children in kinship foster care, the Kinship Youth Program, which Jasmin participated in when she was younger.
“I’ve always had a passion for kids because I connect with them so well,” says Jasmin. “I want to be a teacher who motivates students and makes them become better people. People tell me I’m not going to make any money in education but I want to do something I love, making others happy and motivated to keep learning.”
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