Happy National Mentoring Month!

January 25, 2024


Puente mentee and mentor

January is National Mentoring Month! Launched in 2002, National Mentoring Month presents a time to celebrate the power of relationships, drive meaningful change, and expand quality mentoring opportunities for our nation’s youth. 

Last December, President Joseph Biden released a presidential proclamation officially honoring National Mentoring Month as a time to “celebrate the millions of mentors across the country who step up and give their time, care, and hearts to make sure every young person in our Nation has a fair shot at the American Dream.” 

This month, we shine a light on our own campus mentors who are committed to the college’s Puente program. The Puente Project is a national award-winning program that has helped tens of thousands of youths enroll in four-year colleges and universities, earn degrees, and return to the community as leaders and mentors to future generations.  

The program prepares students for success while in community college through direct counseling services as well as an English Instruction. An important final piece to the program is connecting Puente students with a mentor from the business or professional community. Mentors share with students their personal, academic, and career experiences and provide a window into “real life” work environments.  

LATTC Puente’s 22nd class is currently underway, comprised of 38 hardworking students who are eager and determined to succeed. In celebration of National Mentoring Month, we reached out to one Puente mentor, Mr. Billy Celiz, about his experience as a Puente mentor. Billy works in the Financial Aid office at LATTC and is currently mentoring Estefani Garcia, a first-year student at LATTC studying to become an elementary school teacher. Estefani says, “My experience with my mentor Billy has been one of a kind. His mentorship, friendship, and kindness toward me and my family has been so special and meaningful. His mentorship has helped me delegate classes and finish important documents that will further my education. He not only supports, but genuinely cares for me and my future. I'm thankful because he has shared many opportunities that I wouldn't have had without him. I'm grateful to my Puente counselors for allowing me to meet someone so special.” 

Read an interview with Billy below.  

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you heard about the Puente program at LATTC. 
My name is Billy Celiz. I was born and raised in the Montebello/East LA area. I attended East Los Angeles College (ELAC) and eventually transferred and completed my bachelor's degree at CSULA. As an employee at LATTC, I was forwarded information about the Puente Program by the program’s counselor and was immediately interested in joining. 
What was it about Puente that made you want to get involved as a mentor? 
The Puente Program allows staff members to share their college experience and assists students in completing their educational goals moving forward. I was interested in being part of that mission. 
Tell us a bit about what your experience as a Puente mentor has been like thus far? 

My experience with the Puente Program has been amazing! I feel very fortunate to have met Estafani (Stefani) who is a dedicated student with a passion to become an educator within the community. 


What would you say to those who may be looking for new volunteer opportunities or ways to give back and considering becoming a Puente mentor?  
As a former student within the Los Angeles area, my involvement with the Puente Program has afforded me an opportunity to give back and help a fellow member of the community in their academic journey. Becoming a Puente mentor has been one of the more rewarding experiences as an employee of the Los Angeles Community College District. It has been a privilege to get to know Stefani, and I look forward to attending her graduation soon. 

The Puente program is open to professional mentors from throughout the community. Learn more about Puente and how you can become a mentor!