The Power of Mentoring

In honor of National Mentoring Month, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) would like to highlight a special volunteer who has made a profound impact on the young minds of our Clubhouse youth. Meet Sheng.

Q: How long have you volunteered at SFBFS?

A: Hello! I’m a Sacramento State student and I have been a volunteer with SFBFS for about five months now.

Q: What made you interested in The Clubhouse?

A: Coming in as a mentor to The Clubhouse, I didn’t know much until I discovered the sort of education and fun that was provided for the students. The freedom to dream of anything and make it possible was inspiring. As a science major I know how important modern technology is to the world right now. My goal would be to inspire these students to continue and pursue a higher education so they can be the change that will make a difference in the world.

Q: What are your main roles?

A: My main role here in The Clubhouse are helping the students with their homework, however, I also provide weekly lessons about what the field of chemistry is. With the guidance of my professor, Dr. Jeffery Paradis, I teach the students about how much fun chemistry is. I enjoy showing them safe chemical experiments while they learn about the behaviors of atoms and their interactions. The highlights of working with the students is seeing them excited and learning at the same time

Q: What’s your favorite part of volunteering?

A: My favorite part about mentoring the students is giving them a sense of hope and safe environment so they can continue to do what they enjoy. I understand that not all of our students come from a healthy upbringing and by showing them what we do here at The Clubhouse, the hope is to keep them focused and motivated

Q: What does serving as a mentor to youth mean to you?

A: Serving as a mentor to youth means a great deal to me. Growing up, my older siblings were always my role models. I just hope to be that role model for the students; to help push them and guide them to success. I believe that The Clubhouse provides such a strong foundation for any youth to start with. We have a great number of males and female students coming through our doors every day, but I know that there is a lack of females in the STEM field. Being a strong female figure is especially important for me to help lead The Clubhouse students into the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

Q: Would you like to share a special story?

A: A student named Gabriel who used to come in everyday, but leave early, made a huge impact on me. English isn’t his strongest language and I could relate in that Spanish was hard for me to pick up. However, his drive to learn and create was something I rarely see. With my passion to teach him and his enthusiasm to absorb and be creative with what he learns, he would always impress me. I recall a time when we were working together on his homework about what electricity and solar energy power is. When we finished his assignment, I decided to pull out a kid that had various tools such as an electric motor, solar panels battery, and alligator clips which can be assembled together to make a variety of different tools. With my attention divided amongst the other students, I handed him the kit with a fun and information guide to help him assemble various projects. I told him to read the manual and create something with it. As he played with the battery operated motor, he figured out how to use it and built a fan where the motor helped generate the energy to power the fan. Afterwards, he came to me with his project and I was beyond impressed with his work. Though he couldn’t speak too much English, he was able to put his creative mind to work. It was a wonderful and rewarding feeling to be able to watch this transformation take place.

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