When it comes to mentor-mentee relationships, at Juma, we value the way that trust between a mentor and mentee can create pathways to new opportunities. Juma San Francisco Program Coordinator, Sophie Linder, and her Juma youth mentee, Nash, embody a relationship that is defined by Juma’s core values of transparency and integrity, respect and appreciation, knowing that we are stronger together, and of course, always putting Juma youth first.
In her first baseball season working with Juma, Nash already felt comfortable being open with Sophie and knew that Sophie was someone she could rely on for help and information as she adjusted to the new role. “I feel like she always goes out of her way to check in with me and get me opportunities,” Nash explains. “I know she doesn’t have to do that, but she does, and I’m glad to have that even though I’m new here.”
The role of a Juma Program Coordinator is first and foremost that of a mentor; they work to build trusting relationships with each of the youth in their cohort. This relationship is the foundation for supporting youth as they go through Juma’s YouthConnect program and bridge the divide between young adulthood and the working world. Program Coordinators teach Juma workshops and connect to youth through one-on-one meetings where they get to know them as individuals and offer support and guidance.
“I learned that Nash is very passionate about robotics–she’s on the robotics team at her high school and spent last year building a robot. She sent me a really impressive photo of the robot her team was working on!” Sophie exclaims. Her face lights up as she discusses the role she plays in the lives of the youth she supports. She makes a concerted effort to get to know each of them individually so that she can tailor their Juma experience and ensure they get the most from their time in the program. “Part of the [monthly one-on-one] check-ins entails connecting our [youth] to professionals in their fields of interest, and preparing them for informational interviews with those professionals,” she explains.
The Mentor-Mentee relationship extends beyond just connections to helpful opportunities; it also helps mentees build confidence. Because Juma youth know their Program Coordinator is there to support them both on and off the job, they have a safe resource to go to when they have a need or a concern. “Nash does a great job of advocating for herself,” says Sophie. “She tells me where she needs support in her interests and is eager to work toward achieving them.”
To Nash, Juma is something she can depend on to open doors to opportunity. “I kind of didn’t know what to expect when I started,” Nash recalls. “I was surprised in a good way.” In the future, she hopes to take what she’s learning from Juma into her career by finding ways to give back to her community. “Inequality is everywhere,” she says. “Everyone deserves an opportunity.”
And thanks to dedicated staff like Sophie who work to foster trusting relationships and build youth up as they take their first steps into the working world, at Juma, everyone has access to opportunity.