Mentorship relationships help students succeed, graduate

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – You’ve seen the discouraging rankings that put New Mexico dead last when it comes to education. But one nonprofit is creating mentorships that are motivating students to graduate high school and go on to college.

Anthony Quinones will graduate from Amy Biehl High School next year. During his freshman year, he met Skyler Wildenstien, his mentor, through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico.

“He’s really important. An example would be that none of my parents graduated high school. So him, being that he went to college, and he offers that guidance to me what paths to take,” Quinones said.

Amy Biehl High School and the South Valley Academy started the Big Brothers Big Sisters “Mentor 2.0” program four years ago. Mentors and mentees are together the whole way.

Graduation for the inaugural class just took place with a graduation success rate of 98 percent.

“It’s like Match.com. Everybody goes onto the computer, and it’s all focused on the student, so we pull up the student’s name and say, who’s the best match for that student?” said Angela Reed Padilla, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico.

She believes “Mentor 2.0” could be a model for other New Mexico schools to get their graduation rates up.

“From the moment we were matched her freshman year, we clicked,” said Laila Tootoonchi, who mentors a student named Yasmina. From homework help and studying for finals to college prep, these relationships are all cherished.

“She offers me a fresh new perspective,” Tootoonchi said.

Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors are needed, especially guys.

Thursday kicked off the “60 Men in 60 Days” campaign to recruit volunteers.

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