Archway’s Program Coordinator Chosen as Mentor of the Year

May 31, 2018


By Sarah Adams


It is not uncommon for Archway Partnership employees to wear many hats and provide different talents and skills to benefit communities across the state of Georgia. But one of our own has been especially recognized for her hard work and dedication to positively impact the life of a child.

Rosanna Cruz-Bibb, the Archway Partnership’s Program Coordinator, has been chosen as mentor of the year two years in a row and was recently honored as the overall mentor of the year for Jackson County. Each school in the county selects a mentor of the year, then from that group, an overall mentor of the year is chosen. Last year, Rosanna was chosen as South Jackson Elementary School’s mentor of the year and this year she was chosen as East Jackson Middle School’s mentor of the year. Additionally, she was asked to give a speech at the end of year mentoring celebration luncheon to reflect on how mentoring has impacted her life.

Rosanna began mentoring nearly nine years ago with an organization called Legacy Youth Mentoring. She explains, “I was surprised to be presented as the overall mentor of the year for Legacy Youth Mentoring which represents Jackson County. There are over 200 mentors in the organization, so it was a humbling and flattering award to be granted.”

Rosanna was a caretaker for both of her maternal grandparents from age 15 until 27. Her grandmother required significant medical care that meant spending most of her time in high school and college at home with them. She says the experience taught her the depth of the meaning of love and commitment while watching her mother caring for them taught her about selfless devotion and strength. When Rosanna’s grandmother passed away, she spent a few months reflecting on what she had lost and how her life had changed, but then realized how much she had gained by having experienced care taking so early in life.

She says she learned that all phases of life are important and connected, so when her grandmother passed away, she knew that her next calling would be to help foster a young person’s development in the same way that taking care of her grandparents helped shape her life.

When asked about her favorite mentoring moment, she said there were too many to choose from, but describes one favorite in particular: “My mentee, Gracie, has always been interested in learning sign language. For Christmas last year, I got her a box of sign language flash cards that we could use to learn sign language together. The cards are not always clear in their directions but figuring out how to move our hands correctly and communicate with each other through non-verbal language has been a lot of fun for both of us. We recently mastered the alphabet and can even spell our names now!”

For anyone considering becoming a mentor, Rosanna states mentoring is a way to give back, but you may be surprised to find that you get more out of the experience than your mentee does!   Even if you aren’t able to mentor, there are always ways to give back. What matters most is a conscious effort toward gratitude and a commitment to serving others. “That way,” she explains, “each action we take, no matter how small, may have positive ripple effects on the world around us.”

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