I had my second iMentor session today. Today’s prompt was “What are your dreams?” We were asked to think about what our lives have been like in the past, what they are like now, and what we hope they will be in the future. I asked my mentee if she has any dreams for the future. She simply responded, “No, not really. I just think about today. I think in the moment!”
She said something similar the last time we met, and the more I think about it, the more I can understand it. She doesn’t speak English with pretty much anyone other than me. She even speaks in Spanish with the majority of her teachers at school. She comes from a lower income background, and her mother had her when she was just 16 in the Dominican Republic, and they live in a crowded apartment in the Bronx. It’s hard to think about the future when you’re not even sure what you’re going to eat for dinner later today, or if tomorrow will even come.
The focus of this mentoring program is to get kids excited about the idea of going to college, and of course, to ultimately get them into college. I asked her if she thought about going to college, and she said no. I asked her if she did go to college what she’d want to study. She thought about it for a while and said that she wanted to do engineering. “Wow, why do you want to do engineering?” And then, she said she wanted to engineer homes for people who are poor and less privileged because she wants everyone, poor or rich, to have a home. “Everyone should have a roof over their head!”
I could feel myself almost melting, as cliche as it sounds, when she said this. She herself doesn’t have that much, but she still acknowledges that there are people who are far worse off than her that she hopes will have a chance of a better life.