Mentoring Program Pairs City Students With Executives From Bank
July 18, 2005
By ASHLEY L. BATTLE, Courant Staff Writer
On paper, Amarilys Torres and Christina Desaulniers don't have
much in common. Torres just graduated from Hartford Public High
School, and Desaulniers is a learning coordinator at Bank of
America in Hartford.
But thanks to Bank of America's Student Leaders program, the two
have formed a connection. Desaulniers, 44, became Torres' mentor
Torres' former employer at South
End Community Services in Hartford nominated her to participate
in the program. Susan Rottner, the bank's market president for
Hartford, said the students are selected based on their academic
excellence as well as demonstrated leadership ability. The program,
which began a year ago, pairs five students in the city with
executives from the bank. So far, Rottner said, the students
have responded "extremely well" to the program.
"You do get a lot of experience. And it's good for my resume," Torres,
17, said about her internship this summer at the Asylum Hill Boys
and Girls Club.
As a "professional youth developer" at
the club, Torres works with 8- and 9-year-olds alongside a teacher.
"We teach them how to be safe in their community, kind of
like street smarts," Torres said.
Torres also said the internship has been a learning experience
"With kids, you have to have a lot of patience and understanding," she
said, adding that her years of baby-sitting have helped with her
Desaulniers and Torres talk about their six-month relationship
fondly, often with one finishing a sentence for the other. Since
they paired up, they have engaged in numerous activities together,
including Torres shadowing Desaulniers at her job and Desaulniers
attending Torres' graduation in May.
As part of the program, Desaulniers and Torres also perform community
service. The two recall a volunteer assignment in the spring when
they went to the club to accompany what they thought would be 100
kids on a field trip to a local Chuck E. Cheese's.
It turned out to be 200 children with 40 chaperones.
Desaulniers and Torres came up with a unique way to solve the
recurring problem of kids losing the tickets they won after playing
"We just started giving them ours," Torres
After that, Torres decided to work at the Asylum Hill club.
"I just love working with kids," she
Torres plans to attend Capital Community College in Hartford,
but she is undecided on her major.
"I like so many things," she said. "Computers,
kids, forensic science ..." After college, she plans to settle
down before going back to college to get another degree.
Torres has her own ideas about
why she connects with her students so well. "I'm a kid at heart," she
Desaulniers, of Manchester,
uses another word to describe Torres: "I've
made a new friend."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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