Mentors deliver assistance to students

Pierce College’s focus is on student success, and the Peer-to-Peer Mentor Program helps by meeting with students one-on-one to aid with the transition to college and helping them academically.

Mentees can meet with a respective mentor for guidance and information. They are free to talk about any subject, whether that be about college, academic performance and campus involvement.

Sidra Bahadar, coordinator for the Peer-to-Peer Mentor Program, said it can help students have someone to talk with. 

“To have a person to go to for questions is really beneficial, especially because we have such a large [student] population that’s first generation.” Bahadar said

The mentor program is embedded into the Los Angeles College Promise (LACP) program on campus. It assigns a mentor to all LACP students, who must meet at least once each semester. 

“Each mentor has almost the same [number] of students to work with,” Bahadar said. “Out of the thousand, let’s say 100 students are all divided amongst 14 mentors.”

Some of the mentors are second or third-year students who underwent training for a month on campus resources and other skills to prepare for their role. They work 12 hours a week and accommodate mentees who can’t meet from Mondays-Thursdays.

Jenni Severin, a Peer-to-Peer mentor said seeing the relief from mentees from mentors’ support is a good feeling. 

“You have students sitting there and they’re like, ‘My financial aid isn’t coming through.’ or ‘I can’t afford my books, but I want to go to college.’” Severin said. “But then we make suggestions and towards the end of the meeting, they’re like, ‘Oh wow, this was so helpful, I’m so glad I came in.’”

The program wants to make sure that students feel safe and trust the mentors with any issues they are having. 

Servin said she keeps all of her conversations between her mentees confidential-with the exception of life threatening conversations. 

“If your mom comes in and says, ‘Hey, John said he met with you. I want to know what he said because he doesn’t tell me how his classes are going.’ I tell her, ‘Unfortunately, I can’t talk about this. Maybe you can ask him. What I talk to him about is confidential,’” Severin said.

Bahadar said that part of the main goal of the program is to make sure students have a place to go to.

“ I want to build relationships with students to make [them] feel they have a community here.” Bahadar said.

Bahadar works with the staff of the Student Engagement Center to develop programs and events on campus that bring everyone together.

Dr. Lara Conrady, Student Engagement coordinator and counselor enjoyed that some clubs came together this semester. 

“So far was the [Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month] Celebration,” said Conrady. “It was a really fun [cultural] event for students where some clubs [like MEChA and Spanish] participated.”

Severin said the Peer-to-Peer Mentor Program application is quick to fill out and anyone can join.

“Just because you’re on your second or third year doesn’t mean you don’t want to talk to someone,” Severin said. “I feel like that’s a really important fact that people don’t know about the Peer to Peer Mentor program. It’s open to anyone.”