Meet Our Mentors

The foundation is proud to work with these mentors who share a passion to inspire and provide guidance to those in need.

The Making Hope Happen Foundation encourages the pursuit of the San Bernardino City Unified School District. Both the foundation and district work to prepare graduates for higher level education and future endeavors. In addition to financial support, recipients are linked with a university student mentor. Mentors offer informal guidance to scholarship recipients to help navigate their way during the first two years of their college journey.

The foundation is proud to work with these mentors who share a passion to inspire and provide guidance to those in need. Are you interested in becoming a mentor?

We invite you to meet our mentors!

Casandra Santos

Casandra Santos

Casandra Santos is a Senior in the Counseling and Guidance Graduate Program at California State University, San Bernardino. Upon graduating, Casandra would like to start searching for counseling positions. While her heart holds a special place for elementary school counseling, she is not opposed to working with any education level—as long as she’s helping her students out.

Santos is also a part of the San Bernardino Restorative Youth Court since the fall of 2017. She plans to continue her involvement with the court upon graduation.

“I love the idea that not only do the students receive a scholarship to help them with their college expenses but that it comes along with a mentor,” says Santos. “College can be a very confusing time especially for first generation students. If I can make their life less stressed…that is the best feeling. I wanted to work with the Making Hope Happen Foundation because it aligned with my values. I am a firm believer in hope and giving back to the community.”

Santos believes a mentor has multiple meanings. She understands that it’s someone who shares their knowledge, helps out, guides, and most importantly…listens. Being a first generation college student, she understands how it feels to be lost during the whole process. She hopes to be there for her mentees in those moments of confusion. She’d like to turn her mentees away from those moments of “I can’t do this!” and push them toward resiliency.

Gerzon Cesena

Gerzon Cesena

Gerzon Cesena is a Senior at California State University, San Bernardino majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. After graduation, Cesena hopes to build and grow businesses into sustainable ventures from which his community can benefit from.

Cesena has decided to work with the foundation in hopes of preventing incoming students from missing out on educational opportunities simply because they weren’t informed or lacked guidance.

When asked what does mentorship mean to him, Cesena replied, “A mentor is an informal advisor that will always be there to answer questions and offer help in any way possible.” During his time with the foundation, Cesena hopes to provide insight that could make students’ college experience more enjoyable.

He acknowledges Ginger Ontiveros, Grasiela Hernandez, and the rest of the mentors taking action in this program for continuous help and motivation.

The Making Hope Happen Foundation thanks you Gerzon for your exceptional efforts in the foundation and in your community!

Jocelyne Gonzalez

Jocelyne Gonzalez

Jocelyne Gonzalez is a senior at California State University, San Bernardino, majoring in Liberal Studies. After graduation, Gonzalez plans to enroll in CSUSB’s teaching credential program while working as a substitute teacher. Upon receiving her teaching credential, she plans to apply for a teaching job.

Gonzalez sees the mentorship work she does as her chance to help others in her community. She feels she has valuable information she could pass on to other students in order to prevent them from ever feeling discouraged with the stress college is known to bring.

“Mentorship means being there to show someone you care and are willing to share with them your knowledge and life experiences,” states Gonzalez. As a mentor, Gonzalez hopes to show her mentees that—despite any and all challenges you may face during their academic endeavors, it is possible to make it through and succeed with your determination.

Jocelyne thanks Dina for inspiring hope to her through her educational journey.

Thank you Jocelyn Gonzalez for your continuous efforts in the program!

Ana Atunez Self

Ana Atunez

Ana Atunez is currently a Junior at California State University, San Bernardino. She is a sociology major in which she hopes to continue her educational efforts in graduate school. Atunez plans to become an academic counselor for students in high school and college.

Her motivation behind joining the foundation is soley based on the fact that she loves to work with others and share her past experiences. Atunez believes a mentor is someone who makes time for those who he or she is helping and encourages and creates a positive environment.

“As a mentor I hope to help my mentees during their college journeys. To support them in their dreams and future plans. I also want to guide my mentees and help them avoid mistakes I made during my journey in college. In all…I want to be the big sister I never had!!!” states Atunez. Atunez, pictured with three of her mentees as they enjoy lunch!

Atunez thanks Mark Longway, a mentor she had at Riverside Community College, for inspiring her to enroll at CSUSB and be the mentor she is today.

Thank you Ana Atunez for inspiring hope onto others!

Kitzya Aguilar

Kitzya Aguilar

Kitzya Aguilar is a first year Masters student at the University of Redlands. Upon receiving her degree, she plans to be a school counselor in either a K-12 setting or in that of higher education.

Aguilar sees working for the Making Hope Happen Foundation as a great chance to help out students who are transitioning into college and may require guidance into that transition.

“It is being an ally for students who need a right hand man to help them when they need to vent or just need guidance,” says Aguilar when asked what makes a mentor.

As a mentor, she hopes to develop strong relationships with each of her mentees that are all built on communication and trust so that they may prosper in their college journey.

Gabriela Uribe

Gabriela Uribe

Gabriela Uribe is a Senior at the University of Redlands majoring in Spanish. Upon graduation, Uribe plans to search for a non-profit organization that focuses on helping undocumented people in the country. Long term, Uribe is striving to attend law school with hopes of acceptance into southern California’s, University of La Verne.

When asked what motivated her to take part in the Making Hope Happen Foundation mentorship program, Uribe responded, “I was excited when I heard that there was a mentoring program in my own community. I would have enjoyed having a mentor who was from the same area as I am.”

As Uribe believes a mentor is someone who can guide others through hardships and unknown situations, she hopes to show her mentees how to utilize their resources. She hopes to inspire someone else to be a mentor as well.

Uribe acknowledges her professors at the University of Redlands for helping her believe in herself and always encouraging personal challenges and growth—which, in return, has allowed her to pursue the tasking of making hope happen for others in her community.

Thank you Gabriela for your extraordinary work in the foundation and in your community!

Thalia Hernandez

Thalia Hernandez

Thalia Hernandez is a Senior at California State University, San Bernardino, where she’s majoring in Business Administration with a dual concentration in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. Upon receiving her degree, Hernandez plans to build her own start-up business. Currently, she is developing her own mobile application.

Hernandez began her work as a mentor as she remembered all the mentorship she received as an incoming freshman. Therefore, she wanted to be someone who could helps others grow.

“The word mentor means that someone is there to pass down their knowledge and experience they’ve had because they were one in your position. A mentor is someone to guide you to a better path to help you reach success,” states Hernandez. As a mentor, she hopes to be a resource for her mentees as well as a trusting source they can all feel comfortable with.

She would like to thank and recognize the other mentors in the program as they have made this experience an enjoyable one.

The foundation thanks you Thalia for your extraordinary efforts toward your local community!

Marisol Johnson2

Marisol Johnson

Marisol is graduate student planning to obtain her doctorate while searching for a promotional opportunity in the Inland Empire. She plans to graduate in the spring of 2018!

Johnson desired the opportunity to work with students to help them navigate their way on their college campus. She felt this foundation gave her the chance to do what she loves and serve students of San Bernardino.

“A mentor is an adviser, resource, guide, and friend. They listen and are available for mentees when they need support. A mentor is someone that a mentee should remain in contact with for many years,” states Johnson. As a mentor, she hopes to mentor her group of students beyond their undergraduate experience. She has enjoyed learning about Millennials and the best way to communicate with them.

Johnson gives special thanks to the advisory board for supporting their program and their continued commitment to ensure scholarship recipients have what they need to succeed in college. Additionally, she thanks Ginger Ontiveros and the Community Engagement Office for the opportunity to serve as a mentor.

The foundation is grateful to have Marisol Johnson and all of her promising efforts!