Dedicated Volunteer: Anthony J. Vargas

Posted by on Sep 10, 2012 in Sidebar, Stories | 0 comments

Hathaway-Sycamores is always looking for volunteers with the time and desire to give back to the community. Some volunteers participate in a one day project and some look for an ongoing role with the opportunity to establish deep, lasting and impactful relationships. Anthony J. Vargas “AJ”, an extraordinary individual who has served as a volunteer in the mentoring program at our Highland Park Family Resource Center for over ten years, falls into the latter category.

AJ Vargas

A resident of North Hollywood, AJ makes his living in the entertainment industry. Before pursuing his career in entertainment, he worked in the youth services field. He began volunteering because he found himself missing working with kids and the impact one can have doing that work. Over the past 12 years AJ has mentored six kids. AJ’s has been with his current mentee for seven years. He describes his experiences as a mentor as both challenging and rewarding.

When AJ was asked about his favorite part of being a mentor he responded, “Words can’t really describe how extremely rewarding it is to be a positive influence and make a huge difference in the lives of these kids.” AJ is quick to mention the positive impact it has had in his life too. “These kids become family. Giving back to the community like that really makes me feel I’m helping to make the world a better place.” 

Talking about the challenges he faces as a mentor, AJ states, “Mentoring requires serious commitment, thru good times and rough times. Sticking with it, and showing up is crucial. I’ve worked with some very challenging kids. It’s not always easy, but these kids come to realize that you care about their lives and that inspires them to make the right choices, and to do better.”

And in the end according to AJ, the hard work does pays off. “What has been important to me is keeping these kids on the right path, and watching them grow into responsible, happy and productive young adults.” AJ knows he has made a difference when negative behaviors change into positive ones, and when grades improve. And perhaps most importantly AJ knows he is making a difference, “… just seeing that particular smile and happiness that was not there before.”

AJ is making a difference and Hathaway-Sycamores is extremely lucky to have him as a member of our team! If you are interested in mentoring or volunteering in some other capacity, please contact Denise Larsen at (626) 395-7100 ext. 2515 or via email  Denise Larsen.

 

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