Meet Denver Kids mentor, Julius! He was matched with his mentee, Vincent, for about 2.5 years until Vincent’s recent high school graduation. Julius is a husband and father who has a professional background in the communications and public relations industries, primarily in K-12 education and government. We had the honor of conducting a Q&A with him recently. Learn more about Julius and his former Denver Kids mentee, below!
Tell us a little about yourself.
My world revolves around my family, so everything else comes second! I am a Colorado native (Aurora, to be exact) who is proud of the family and heritage I come from. I've served on various boards and committees for local non-profits and always try to find new ways to make a positive impact.
What inspired you to become a mentor with Denver Kids?
I was fortunate enough to have mentors in my life as a young man. From 18 onward, I’ve had great people surround me to help elevate me in various ways. I wanted to pay it forward and find someone who I could hopefully help in some way or another. And I wanted to learn as much from my mentee as he or she would learn from me.
Tell us about your mentee, Vincent. What did you two like to do together?
Vincent and I were matched for about 2 1/2 years, until his recent high school graduation. He is one of the smartest people I know. He is very intelligent, thoughtful, and focused on what’s ahead of him. I learned these attributes by spending time with him and picking his brain. We would chat on the phone or in person when I met him at various places to hang out. We went to a few ballgames, played laser tag, dined at different restaurants and much more.
What is your favorite memory with Vincent?
My favorite memory is when he asked me to meet him at a park near his house so I could help him practice his martial arts moves. I gotta admit, I wasn’t ready for what he came with! It was all new to me and I appreciated that he thought that much of me to ask. It was a cool moment!
How does Vincent inspire you and how does he make you proud?
Vincent has pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and try new things. His passion for knowledge makes me want to buckle down and discover more of the world. It’s something in his eyes; he’s got a certain glow about him. He can make me proud by taking chances and being himself.
Vincent graduated in 2021. What is he currently up to and what does your relationship look like now?
He is in his first year at Colorado State University studying engineering. We are still in touch. I try to touch base with him every other month when my schedule allows. We usually talk by phone and I ask how he's doing and if he needs anything. He also likes to hear how I'm doing and what new things I've been up to. I have a great relationship with his immediate family and will talk with his mom periodically as well. Even though he's on to bigger and better things, I value having a good relationship with him and his family.
Why do you believe mentoring is important?
For me, mentorship is about vulnerability. A mentor has to let the mentee see a side of them that may be hard to divulge any other time; a mentor has to really show their human side to gain trust and buy-in from the mentee. A mentee can learn a lot by seeing this and hopefully be able to open up about what's going on in their life and why they need help and guidance. I truly believe mentoring is a two-way street that can benefit both sides.
What have you learned through being a mentor?
I’ve learned that many people seeking mentors aren’t necessarily looking for expertise in different subjects. They really just want someone to care enough to listen and try to relate to them. Mentees need people to believe in them, and that’s priceless.
Anything else you’d like to share?
This has been an eye opening experience for me and I am glad to have taken part in the Denver Kids program. I hope Vincent learned something from me during our time together and that he found value in our relationship.
To learn more about the Denver Kids volunteer mentoring program, visit DenverKids.org/Mentor.