Seedling Donors and Mentors Speak Out: Rolando Fernandez

Rolando-Girls-SFBlogRolando Fernandez will tell you; he is wearing many hats these days!

He is the Assistant Director of the Contract and Land Management Department for the City of Austin, a Director of the Board of Seedling Foundation, a current Leadership Austin Essentials Class of 2016 member, a dedicated husband, a devoted Dad to two beautiful little girls, and he is a proud mentor. You can read more about Rolando in his board biography.

We caught up with Rolando recently and asked, “How long have you been involved with Seedling Foundation and why?

“This will be my seventh year mentoring – five years with my first mentee who is now a sophomore in High School and I am currently on year two with my second mentee who is a second grader. I’ve served on the Seedling board for four years.”

“The mission and purpose of Seedling is what attracted me to volunteer and then serve on the board. I experienced my father’s incarceration as I was growing up and felt and still vividly recall the impact it had on my mother, siblings and me. My father did his best to learn from his mistakes, fortunately, but I can personally relate to these children we serve.”

Why do you donate to Seedling?”

“My personal experience of parental incarceration, and reading what are now well-known statistics supporting the importance of mentors and father figures in the lives of children, are what motivate me to support Seedling with my participation and finances. “

You are a Director of the Board, a Donor, and a Mentor.  How do you think those roles enhance each other?

“Being a mentor provides the foundation for my decision making as a board member. The core factors behind any decision that I make in my work with the board are always directly related to what the impacts of these decisions are on our children and mentors. I respect that Seedling’s motto is: “We do what is best for the children.”

What do you enjoy most about serving on the Board of Directors?

“I appreciate the compassion and care the board members have for the children we serve and the mentors that are vital to Seedling’s success. I find it inspiring that the board members who are very busy with family and work, find the energy, time and resources to support Seedling. Seeing firsthand the value our expert staff bring to the forefront in training and supporting our mentors who are valuable to the success of Seedling.”

What is your favorite story about your Mentee?

Rolando Fernandez & Mentee“We like to think that our mentees will be the only ones learning from our Mentor/Mentee relationship and that is not true. My first mentee gave me great advice before I got married and became a step-dad. His advice has helped my daughter and me to build a relationship that has lost the word “step” in our father/daughter bond.”

“Being a mentor has allowed me to move past “junk” that was trapped in my heart during my father’s and my relationship. Mentoring has been a humbling experience that really made me think about how I approach my relationship with my two daughters.”

“My increased level of patience and my desire to care and love without limitation are things that have grown because and through my relationship with my mentee.”

What is your favorite event that Seedling puts on each year, and why?

“The Mentor Appreciation Luncheon Event –My wife tries to attend with me each year when her work schedule permits. She became Seedling’s number one fan after attending her first event, which definitely makes it easier for me to carry out my Seedling Board commitments!”

What would you say to a person who was considering mentoring or donating to Seedling?

“Your investment of finances and time are valuable assets to the youth Seedling serves and thus great care is given to maximizing the impact they provide in the lives of our youth. You won’t find a better program that stretches every dollar donated and prioritizes the preparedness of mentors to serve the youth.”

You can support Seedling Mentoring today! Just click Donate. Thank you!

This entry was posted in Children of Incarcerated Parents, Mentoring, Mentors & Donors Speak Out, Site-Based Mentoring and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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