Why I Mentor: Rita Boutros

Three eight grade CMSD students wearing True2U shirts work together on an exercise

January is #NationalMentoringMonth, and to celebrate we’re sharing the stories of local mentors who are helping to guide the next generation. In this guest blog, Rita Boutros – a J.D. candidate at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and a #True2U mentor working with Cleveland Metropolitan School District 8th graders – shares her perspective on why mentoring matters. 

Rita Boutros head shotWhy did you decide to volunteer as a True2U mentor?

One of the reasons I decided to join True2U is because of my desire to get involved in the Cleveland community. As a True2U mentor, I am able to have a direct impact on the future leaders of our city by sharing my knowledge and experience with them. Personally, I believe that education is one of the most important elements in having a good and productive community. Thus, I was honored to join a program that promotes academic success.

How many years have you mentored?

This is my first year as a True2U mentor.

What is the most rewarding part of being a True2U mentor?

Although there are truly several rewarding aspects of being a True2U mentor, the most rewarding part is that I am able to help students explore themselves. Often times, students graduate college with a degree in an area that they are uninterested in or are unsure if they even enjoy the job opportunities that flow from that major. True2U, unlike many other programs, is designed not only to promote students’ academic success, but also to place the students in a position where they are better able to understand their own hopes and desires. To be able to help students explore their identity is genuinely the most rewarding part of being a True2U mentor.

What is the most challenging part of being a True2U mentor?

The most challenging part of being a True2U mentor is that, more often than not, eighth grade students are not spending much time thinking about their future careers and jobs. As a mentor, I have to prompt them to think about their futures more often, but I must do so in a manner that is appealing to eighth graders. As this is my first time working with students in this kind of setting, I found that the hardest aspect was learning how to effectively communicate with their age group.  

Why would you recommend this opportunity to others?

I would recommend this opportunity to others because it is a fun and rewarding experience for everyone in the community! I have met mentors from all different professional, cultural, and age backgrounds that are ecstatic about volunteering as a True2U mentor. Also, it is a great way to give back to the community and requires very little of one’s time. So, the program is even accommodating to individuals who do not have a very flexible schedule.  

Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking about becoming a True2U mentor?

Share your knowledge with the students, but also to remember to listen. The students that I have the honor of mentoring have shown me different perspectives in certain topics and have taught me various things that I have never been exposed to before. So, for anyone who decides to become a True2U mentor, I highly recommend you keep your ears tuned because you have a lot to learn!

Are you interested in helping local students navigate their path to high school and beyond? Apply to become a True2U mentor for the 2018-19 school year! Learn more about the benefits of becoming a mentor, and how you can apply, by contacting Molly Feghali at Neighborhood Leadership Institute by phone at (216) 812-8700 or via email.