Mentoring program improving student success

Photo courtesy of the Comadre y Compadre Mentoring Program/Parkland College Pictured from left to right are Eduardo Coronel, Jonathan Mendoza, AJ Jimenez, Wendy Ramirez, Angeles Rivera and Moises Orozco at the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Midwest FOCO Conference.

Photo courtesy of the Comadre y Compadre Mentoring Program/Parkland College
Pictured from left to right are Eduardo Coronel, Jonathan Mendoza, AJ Jimenez, Wendy Ramirez, Angeles Rivera and Moises Orozco at the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Midwest FOCO Conference.

Zach Trueblood

Staff Writer

When Parkland College noticed that a large demographic of its students weren’t excelling, it did everything it could to help solve the problem. According to data collected through Parkland Institutional Accountability and Research, only 33 percent of in-district Latino/a students were persisting from one fall semester to the next.

Parkland realized this issue needed to be addressed so the PAT or Parkland Academy Team was formed. The PAT is a group of administrators focused on improving Latino/a student retention at Parkland.

The Parkland Academy Team has two Program Assistants, Moises Orozco and Eduardo Coronel, that provide support and guidance for the students involved in the Comadre y Compadre Mentoring Program.

“The Comadre y Compadre Program has been in development for several years. This is the first year the program has gotten the funding in order to grow its efforts thanks to the Parkland Academy Team. Dr. Tom Caulfield has really helped jumpstart the program for us.” Coronel stated. “The purpose of the Comadre y Compadre Program is to provide incoming Latino/a students with a support system and information about institutional resources. In addition the mentors who work with the Comadre y Compadre Program are able to develop leadership skills through their interactions with institutional agents and their mentees.”

Members of the Comadre y Compadre Program have participated in the Leadership Conference in Alton, Ill. and an Academic National Conference in Kansas City, Mo. Current mentors have also participated on panel discussions such as the Student-Parent Information Night. With outreach from the Comadre y Compadre Program and its mentors, they have been able to make over 300 family connections in the Latino community.

One mentor has seen the program help her mentees in many different ways. Business Administration Major Angeles Rivera, is also the President of Club Latino. She has helped to create a strong connection between the Comadre y Compadre Program and Club Latino.

“I’ve got six mentees so I frequently call or text them. When we meet up I don’t want it to be stressful at all. We meet at places like Starbucks and Chipotle, just comfortable public places. I try to give advice and be a friend as well as a mentor,” Rivera said. “Many of my mentees are also in Club Latino. The Comadre y Compadre Program really benefits by working with Club Latino. We’re able to introduce students to the same culture and like-minded students. They’re able to build this supportive family with other students within Club Latino.”

Rivera explained that being a part of Comadre y Compadre benefits her as well. She said that it pushes her to do better and set a good example for her mentees. She feels like she is a positive influence on their lives and can be a leader for them when they feel lost.

Another dedicated mentor in the Comadre y Compadre Program is Kinesiology Major Wendy Ramirez. She’s been involved with training for the program since the summer but officially started at the beginning of fall semester.

“I’ve got six mentees total. We either meet up, email or text at least once a week to discuss how school is going. I try to be a friend for them and someone they can confide in. I’m able to help them relieve stress and focus on school,” Ramirez explained. “I think Comadre y Compadre is a really good program. I used to be in their shoes, feeling lost and not knowing anyone. I can relate to them and it’s really nice for them to know they have someone to count on as a mentor and a friend.”

Any student looking for more information about the Comadre y Compadre Program can visit the office of Moises Orozco and Eduardo Coronel in room U118 inside of Student Life, or contact them at 217-353-2152.