The Joy of Mentoring in the JBBBS College Mentoring Program

by Janet Altman

Mentoring students through the JBBBS college mentoring program brings me much joy. This program provides a rewarding mentoring experience with economically disadvantaged first-generation students who aspire to attend and complete college. I am invigorated by the fortitude of my two student matches.

My goal as a mentor is to build a trusting relationship with my mentees that empowers them to succeed. My role is to guide and support my mentees throughout the college application process as well as the early years of college. I strive to be an active listener and provide a judgment-free zone. 

Gabi, my first student, was a junior in high school when we initially matched. Gabi is now in her first year of college and doing well. Isatu, my second student, is a current senior in high school and recently completed the rigorous college application process. 

I have enjoyable conversations with both young women about their lives. In addition, they share their education and career goals with me. My mentees’ maturity, independence, resilience, and aspirations for their futures have impressed me. The get-togethers I have with each student, primarily revolve around eating at restaurants, zoom calls with college counselors, and visiting colleges. I am thrilled that Gabi and Isatu are excited about their college journey.  

Why did I decide to become a mentor? Upon retirement as an Executive Director in the nonprofit educational field, I sought volunteer opportunities in the college mentoring space. The mission of the JBBBS college mentoring program compelled me to volunteer. JBBBS offers a gold standard of services to deserving and qualified high school students who want to pursue and complete a post-secondary education.  The services offered by JBBBS include, college and financial counseling, mentoring, social work support, and monetary scholarships.

Jenny George, the Director of the College Mentoring Program, and a clinical social worker provides superior guidance to all involved. Jenny and JBBBS create a robust and caring environment paired with a realistic approach to the college process. As a mentor, I always feel supported. 

I passionately recommend becoming a mentor in this profoundly effective program. Your volunteer efforts will ensure that college educational opportunities are a reality for deserving students.

Janet Altman enjoys spending time with her husband David, her two adult daughters (Jennifer and Rachel), extended family, and friends.  She currently serves on the board of the Temple Shalom Sisterhood and Lakewood Tennis Club. You can often find her on the tennis court, taking walks, kayaking, drinking coffee in a cafe, or reading a book.

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