LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Adrian Alvarez, who was born in Mexico City and moved to the United States with his family when he was 3 years old, remembers how difficult the transition was for him and his family.
“As an immigrant, you don’t know much about what’s going on,” he said. “There’s a lot of different things that is different, you know culture shock, and I wouldn’t have known many things without the mentorship of others.”
Even though Alvarez had incredible support from his family, he said that it was the guidance from a mentor that helped him adapt and get to where he is today.
“The biggest one for me was academics you know trying to get an understanding of how the U.S. education works and not let my past hinder me or scare me to proceed to higher education or higher goals,” he said.
And Alvarez is achieving his goals.
He just finished his Master of Business Administration at the University of Southern California and is working for Cal State San Bernardino.
But he’s also paying it forward as a mentor.
“I think it’s a huge blessing, you can say, to have mentors growing up, and I want to become that person for someone and give back to the community,” Alvarez said. “That is why I decided to join the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.”
Alvarez has been paired with Jorge Perez, a senior at Rialto High School.
“He helps me with a lot of stuff, especially with school projects when I need help, and right now he’s helping me with applying to colleges and universities,” Perez said. “He’s like the big brother that I never had.”
And Alvarez found that making a difference in someone else’s life can make an impact in his.
“I really thought I was going to go in and make a difference on someone’s life, but the impact on my life, it has been huge,” he said. “It’s made me push myself harder, to become a better person because now I have someone who’s looking up to me.”
More information on becoming a mentor for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program can be found online.