New PSP mentor, Jesus Herrera

January 24, 2017 in Articles

One of Partnership Scholars Program’s newest mentors, Jesus Herrera, is not new to mentorship or to PSP. Jesus first became a part of PSP when he was inducted as a new 7th grade scholar at Lennox Middle School in 2004. Jesus remembers having a positive experience with the program as a student, saying he truly benefited from the many experiences PSP afforded him that he would not have had otherwise. Ten years later, while leading a tour for PSP scholars of his now alma mater USC, Jesus was urged by current Board Chair and mentor, Meg Sanchez, to come back to the program and mentor.

After a little over a year mentoring with PSP, Jesus finds he is reaping the benefits of being a mentor, bonding with his scholars. “I try to choose places that I haven’t been, that way both they and I get to learn and experience new things,” says Jesus. “For two of my scholars, they are older brothers. They haven’t said straight out, but it’s kind of like they see me more than just a mentor, but like an older brother or a father figure.”

All three are all in 10th grade, and he describes them as very energetic teenagers who pose the usual challenges. “For the most part they have the same school schedule, but they have different outside-of-school commitments,” says Jesus. “Communication issues are something a challenge; we’ve made some progress there. I’ve figured out times that work best and I’ve learned that it’s okay that at times only two of them can make it – or one.”

Jesus has set some goals for himself, as well as for his scholars.

Read the rest of this entry →

Mentors Barb and Mark Lurie give it their all

November 21, 2016 in Articles


Barbara (Barb) Lurie discovered Partnership Scholars Program about four years ago while helping a friend, Dr. George Ferenczi, find a local organization to invest in. “I did some research and found out about the PSP program,” says Barb, recalling that a relative of a friend was involved in the program and initially introduced her to PSP.  After connecting George with organization’s founder, Dr. Glenn Langer, Barb decided that she and her husband Mark Lurie would become volunteer mentors and started working with students in Lennox.

Now, Barb and Mark team up together as co-mentors and have taken on some of the program’s older scholars. “The first year we got ‘orphans’ who had lost their mentors,” says Barb. “Our first scholars are now juniors in college; they were juniors in high school when we got started.” Having kept up with the now college students, Barb and Mark get together with their former scholars from time to time for dinner. “The biggest pleasure now is to get together with some of the kids that we started with who are in college now,” agrees Mark.

Allowing many of their students to have opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have is central to their mentorship with PSP. “We have one kid whose father was completely disabled by a stroke, his mother didn’t speak English and cares for his father,” says Barb. “It was really gratifying to get to expose him to things he wouldn’t normally get to do.” She adds, “When we signed up to be mentors, we were hoping to enrich the students’ lives a bit but we didn’t realize how much we ourselves would be enriched.” As the two do not have children of their own, they have found mentoring to be an eye-opening experience, giving them insight into “what it’s like to have teenagers.”

Read the rest of this entry →