Former students made their cameo as new mentors for the CAMEO Mentoring Program in Long Beach.
In a press statement released by the non-profit organization, three former mentees returned to the program to serve as the program’s newest mentors for the 2021-2022 school year. CAMEO, an auxiliary of the Assistance League of Long Beach was established in 1986. Its mission was to guide underserved Long Beach high school and community college students to identify and develop scholastic and professional opportunities. “I knew I wanted to go to college, but didn’t have the tools, “ said Elena Roman, one of the newest mentors and a literacy teacher for elementary school students in Long Beach Unified School District.
Over 30 years, the non-profit supported academically promising students from the Long Beach Unified School District high schools and Long Beach City College. Mentors have to be working professionals who provide one-on-one mentoring support to enhance each student’s educational and personal development. “The overall experience with CAMEO was amazing because you have this big support system of mentors, not just your own,” said Sara Manangon, another mentor and graduate of Business and Marketing school at California State University, Long Beach.
Rosa Ruiz, the third mentor, a former re-entry student, and a mother of three, described her experiences as enriching and inspirational. “I grew up in Mexico and wouldn’t have been able to have these opportunities without CAMEO. Ruiz completed her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and her teaching credentials from California State University, Long Beach.
CAMEO students get recommended by their school counselors based on need and academic promise. They must complete an application and interview process. The program guides high school students through a three-year, one-on-one mentoring program that will help identify their college and career goals. “By the time, they become a senior, big difference” Maria Harris, chair of the CAMEO mentoring program, said when describing the impact the mentors have on the students, in preparing them for opportunities in post-secondary education
For community college students, they experience a two-year journey and are provided with a mentor who guides them towards transferring them into a four-year university. In addition to participating in mentoring and activities, each student can earn an annual stipend for school expenses. Once completed the program, students are eligible to receive a new computer, scholarships, and can also apply for additional specialty scholarships.
The non-profit will host its Fashion Show and Luncheon on March 12, 2022 at the Westin Long Beach. Residents, employed or retired, and with a desire to support the youth of Long Beach through mentoring are encouraged to volunteer with the mentoring program.
For more information about the CAMEO program, please visit the website here.
By Carter Williams II.