by TINA GONZALEZ//Editorial Assistant
Four men are on a mission to impact lives, make a difference in their community, and build relationships.
Nine years ago, Noe Brito, Mark Cavazos, Michael Goen, and Eric Strong came together for lunch to create an organization that would eventually grow to be something that will help and alter kids’ lives.
“Building strong youth rather than repairing broken adults” is the motto of Tomorrow’s Leaders, an organization that takes 40 to 50 boys and girls who are in 5th grade from Title I schools in Lubbock to mentor them for a whole school year. Volunteers do as much as they can in one school year to help motivate and sculpt these kids into becoming something bigger.
“I kind of wear several different hats”, said Cavazos. “I helped create the Facebook page, website, and brochures.”
Being a part of Tomorrow’s Leaders has given Cavazos a perspective on life. Cavazos, along with other volunteers, has spent their time mentoring kids, teaching them life and organization skills. Almost being kind of a parent figure for these kids has helped Cavazos realize the importance of education and life values for them.
“Exposure,” Essie Alvarado, the organization nurse, said. “The kids get exposure to a stability and support.”
For a whole school year mentors get assigned four to five boys or girls from Irving, Guadalupe, Ramirez, and Alderson Elementary schools in Lubbock. Most of the 5th graders participating have never seen anything other than the four walls of their home. By being a part of Tomorrow’s Leaders, he or she gets a year of exposure, such as seeing college campuses and meeting with college professors, attending Texas Tech sports events, going camping and having various talks about finance, sex, and life.
“We are impacting lives”, said Cavazos, “seeing the change.”
After the year is over and each student has participated in the activities and kept up their grades, those kids in the Tomorrow’s Leaders program get to travel to New York City and Washington, D.C. to tour monuments, museums and tour the cities.
“They completely forgot about all their fears,” said Cavazos.
Tomorrow’s Leaders focuses on education, health, and wellness for kids who may or may not have parents there for that.
“We have become more recognized and more organized,” said Cavazos.
Through the years, Tomorrow’s Leaders has been able to make more of an impact in the kids’ lives. They also have established partnerships with Texas Tech University and Alliance Federal Credit Union.
“One thing that makes us stand out is we are 100-percent volunteer,” said Cavazos. “We don’t even have a building.”
Tomorrow’s Leaders are pushing the focus for kids to take education seriously and to set goals, because education can make your life go a long way.
“We’re stressing better behavior, pushing more education,” said Cavazos.
The organization gets different kids but the agenda never changes, nor does the heart of the volunteers. The founders have high expectations for this year and years to come.
“We are hoping to create new partnerships and for the organization to become self-sustaining,” said Cavazos.
The organization is focused on getting more grants and more partnerships for the future, which will help with funding.
The organization was created for the sole purpose of mentoring and altering lives of kids who need it most.
“For the first time, later this year, we will have an etiquette dinner,” said Cavazos “We want our kids not only be prepared for high school but for the real world.”