Celebrate National Mentoring Month! Meet Carmen Soto, One of the first Mentors to Join
Vista’s Forever Friends Mentorship Program
Celebrate National Mentoring Month! Meet Carmen Soto, One of the first Mentors to Join Vista’s Forever Friends Mentorship Program
January 28, 2021
Carmen is a first-generation American, a first-generation college graduate, a mom, a CPA, and one of our amazing mentors at Vista!
Carmen describes maintaining a long-lasting relationship as no different than “staying close with her siblings, cousins, and family friends who are now young adults.” But how do you do that during a pandemic? Carmen and her mentee maintained and even deepened their connection during the ongoing pandemic.
Carmen shared, “at first it was such a jarring shift to the way we did things. But thankfully, my Program Director quickly put in place a virtual communication schedule. We always met in person so switching to Zoom and phone calls took some adjustments, but we were happy to have a way to connect and share our feelings.”
For so many young people, the spread of COVID-19 triggered intense feelings of panic and a loss of control. Having a trusted adult to share those feelings with, and to be ensured that they’ll remain supported during this time, has been crucial for any mentee. Carmen adds, “my mentee and I have a very transparent relationship, so when it came to talking about COVID, we were able to share our full range of feelings – from fear to uncertainty – I made sure she knew I was there for her.” Carmen and her mentee have stayed connected through weekly zoom hangouts, checking in, and having discussions surrounding racial equality and social justice.
Program Director, Wendy Abdalla, shares that “Vista’s Los Angeles County Forever Friends Program aims to pair youth residents who have little or no family involvement with mentors committed to building meaningful relationships. It is such a valuable link for our residents and the focus is about getting long lasting, supportive relationships that move wherever the residents go… into adulthood as well.”
If you are interested in becoming a Mentor, or to learn more about the program, please contact: