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QCC’s Mentoring Program Still Going Strong

May, 2020
  • Quinsigamond Community College mentee Bobby Kapel and mentor Kevin Campbell.
    Quinsigamond Community College mentee Bobby Kapel and mentor Kevin Campbell.

Mentors and mentees in QCC’s Mentoring program often find more than a collaborative, working relationship, they find a friendship.This was the case with Quinsigamond Community College recent graduate Bobby Kapel and retired military professional Kevin Campbell. The duo are a part of QCC’s Mentoring program and while the two are generations apart, from different countries, cultural backgrounds and career fields, they share a deep admiration and affinity for one another.

Mr. Campbell is a QCC alumnus (1973) who was one QCC’s first mentors. He said he learned of the program after reading about the need for mentors and then meeting with QCC’s President Dr. Luis Pedraja.

“I wanted to give something back,” he said.

Mr. Kapel emigrated from Liberia in 2012, living first in Pennsylvania before moving to Worcester in 2016 and working in the human services field. In 2017, he came to QCC to realize a dream of furthering his education and bettering his future. In his homeland of West Africa, he taught high school for a couple of years and saw first-hand the need for support and guidance from mentors. Yet with a war going on, parents and mentors were scarce. When Mr. Kapel came to QCC, he saw the College’s mentoring program as a pathway to help him get where he wanted to be in life.

“I saw this as a big opportunity and way to keep on track,” he said, adding that the school he attended in Pennsylvania before coming to QCC did not offer a mentoring program. “I never had a mentor. I found a whole lot of good things at QCC that I never had at my other school and I’m very thankful.”

Both mentor and mentee said it has been a fulfilling and advantageous partnership based on mutual respect. They acknowledge the importance of committing to the partnership and following through with things. On the first day the two met, Mr. Campbell said he knew it would be a fruitful union.

The key thing on day one, I could see in Bobby that he was committed in what he was doing, committed to his studies. I could tell right away how serious he was about his education and achieving his goals,” he said. “I was committed to mentoring therefore we both ended up committing to this. You must be fully committed to this or there is no value.”

The two men have consistently met throughout the year, transitioning to calls and zoom meetings during the pandemic, and Mr. Kapel said the advice he has gotten from Mr. Campbell has been invaluable.

“We are from different places, backgrounds but I could talk to Kevin and know where he was coming from. Everything he told me and the advice he gave me worked for me,” he said.

According to QCC Mentoring Director Gabriel Santner, QCC’s mentoring program has been a huge success and one in which both mentees and mentors gain innumerable benefits.  This year alone there have been 135 successful matches.

“It’s a great way to help young people achieve their goals, give feedback, learn the struggles they face and it makes you a better person,” Mr. Campbell said.

In May, Mr. Kapel graduated from QCC and in the fall, he will be heading to Assumption College. He said his mentoring experience has been such a positive one that he hopes to become a mentor and be a valued resource for others, the way Mr. Campbell has been to him.

“What goes around comes around and I would love to do this (be a mentor) for others,” he said.

Mr Santner said one of the biggest takeaways from the program is witnessing and being inspired by the connections that are made.

“So many of our mentees and mentors have been able to open up with each other, and build great relationships. I think mentors gain just as much as mentees from the program, through the bond mentors build and through the insight they gain into the lived experiences of our mentees,” he said.

Currently QCC Mentoring is looking for an Americorp Ambassador of Mentoring to assist in growing the College’s program. The position will run from August 2020 – June 2021. For more information on the position, email Mr. Santner at gsantner [at] qcc.mass.edu .

Visit QCC's Mentoring for information on the program.

 

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