Gone is the white beard, gone is the raspy voice, gone is the wizened old man with spectacles.
‘It Takes Two’ breaks down the stereotypical image of the archetypal mentor to reveal that mentors can come in all different shapes and forms. Mentors, like their pupils, come from a variety of backgrounds and specializations. What they all have in common is a vivid passion for what they do and the desire to dedicate themselves to imparting this passion to others.
Esther Flores, a third-year history student, tutors Idalia Sanchez, a student from Richard Merkin Middle School, every Wednesday for the Watts Tutorial Program. The relationship fostered here goes beyond the typical mentor-mentee connection.
“Idalia hasn’t always seen college as somewhere she belongs and I really want to emphasize that this is a place for her and like she totally should be here and could be here. She’s not just some kid that I tutor and mentor every once in awhile,” said Flores. To this, Sanchez replies, “She inspired me to go to college.”
‘It Takes Two’ is a video project that examines the relationship between six mentors and their mentees. This link can branch across a wide spectrum:
A mentor can be a Wooden Center dance instructor who expresses her love for salsa through teaching. A mentee can be a professor’s former pupil who is now hired full-time to work as his teaching assistant. A mentee can be a former Bruin basketball player who is writing a memoir about his coach, the late John Wooden.
Whoever they happen to be, it takes two to make the relationship flourish.