We are extremely excited to announce our upcoming 2022-2023 Themtorship Program cohort! Continuing for the third year, the Themtorship Program assists first-generation, undocumented, and Black students in the Central Valley with their undergraduate college application process.
Our cohort consists of 10 students residing in communities across the Central Valley. Not only are they incredibly powerful, smart, and ambitious, but this community of diverse Central Valley students come together with the common interest of using education as a tool to support themselves, their families, and their Central Valley communities at large.
About The Program
The development of the Themtorship Program was the product of much reflection, emotional labor, and love that stemmed from a mutual understanding between Central Valley students regarding the obstacles and lack of resources that we face on our journeys to higher education. Through this labor and reflection the Themtorship Program has emerged as a virtual community for students to be met with compassion, patience, and encouragement as they face the difficulty of pursuing higher education as first-generation, undocumented, and Black students from the Central Valley.
At the heart of our program is a desire to help students reach their fullest potential and make informed decisions regarding their educational future, with the knowledge that they are worthy and deserving. Over the span of the next 10 months, students will receive informational webinars, guest speaker presentations, monthly check-ins, and continuous resource sharing and themtor support. The Themtorship Program allows students to thrive in ways that aren’t fostered through their under-resourced and many times underfunded public schools.
All students admitted in the program will receive the following:
A Free Laptop To *Keep*
A Free Wifi Hotspot
A personal Themtor that provides one-on-one support on the entire college application process
8 hours of free therapy in collaboration with the Onyx Trauma Healing Center
Participation in a cohort-based support group and peer learning community over the course of 10 months
Based on learned experiences from our previous two cohorts, we have summarized our goals into three major components; access, empowerment, and critical consciousness (see Figure 1.0).
(Figure 1.0) Themtorship Program Goals
The uniqueness of the Themtorship Program stems from our focus on critical consciousness, in which we provide realistic understandings of higher education institutions in the United States.
Oftentimes college is sold, especially to students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, as a golden ticket that will get themselves and their families out of poverty. However, as first-generation, low-income, and BIPoC students ourselves, we understand that there are very unique and unnecessary challenges students will face while navigating predominantly white and high-income serving institutions.
Success for our program isn’t measured in the prestige of the universities our students attend, nor is it measured in the quantity of universities they were admitted into. Instead, success lies in student growth in consciousness; in which they feel entitled to take space in institutions that were built against them, in which they feel confident and empowered to achieve their dreams, and in which they feel prepared to navigate these institutions and overcome challenges during their college trajectories.
Our goal is to provide the proper tools, resources, and information so our students can make conscious and educated decisions regarding their academic futures. We're here to help our students identify their goals and needs, cheer and support them along the way, and give them the autonomy to decide which academic pathway is best suited for their lives.
Through reflection of our own personal experiences, partnerships with identity-alike themtors, and continuously centering our students' feedback in our curriculum, we are confident that every student in our program will leave with these three goals in hand.
2022 - 2023 Themtorship Program Cohort
Join us in celebrating our 10-student Themtorship Program cohort, all carrying identities of first-generation, undocumented, and/or Black.
Dulce Rosa Navarro (She/Her)
Dulce originates from Dinuba, CA and is a freshman at College of the Sequoias. She strives to obtain a Master of Science in Nursing and become a Certified Nurse Midwife. In her program acceptance she states, "I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to join the Themtorship Program. Being a first-generation and undocumented student has been hard, but this program has opened a door of unlimited opportunities that I would have never thought were possible. I am excited to connect with amazing people that have similar backgrounds as I do."
Benjamin Adubofour (He/Him)
Benny was born and raised in Stockton, California, and is a senior at Saint Mary’s High School. He is passionate about medical science, serving his community, and addressing social injustices, and hopes to bridge these passions together by majoring in public health and minoring in public policy in college. His identity as a first-generation Ghanaian American inspired his aspirations of becoming a physician and health policy specialist, as he hopes to make quality healthcare more accessible to underserved communities. Benny could not be more excited to participate in the Themtorship Program, as he states, “I am incredibly grateful for the safe space that the Themtorship program provides! To be a part of a cohort of like-minded, yet diverse peers is such a special experience, and opens new opportunities for me and so many other marginalized students in the Central Valley."
Giselle Alcantar (She/Her)
Giselle originates from Porterville, CA, and is a senior at Porterville High School. She yearns to enter the technology field as a product marketer/manager. In her program acceptance, she exclaims, "I am exceedingly grateful for the opportunity to be part of the 2022-2023 Themtorship Program! As a Latinx and first-generation college-bound student, I often find myself at a disadvantage when it comes to attending an undergraduate university. However, I know this valuable resource will alleviate my worries as well as my parents' doubts and help me gain insight for matriculation into an undergraduate university (as it has already done for a myriad of students from low minority backgrounds in the Central Valley)."
Sonja Andrews Soto (They/Them)
Sonja originates from Fresno, CA and is a Senior at Edison High School. They have hopes of becoming a Nurse Practitioner, specializing in Labor and Delivery. They are a part of the LGBTQIA+ and Afro-Latino community. In their acceptance they state, “I look forward to being able to make my family proud and represent all of the marginalized groups I am a part of that I didn’t get to see growing up. I believe this program will allow higher education to become available to me; I can’t wait to start this journey and see where it takes me.”
Samuel Adubofour (He/Him)
Samuel was born and raised in Stockton, California and is currently attending Saint Mary's High School. After completing his senior year, he hopes to pursue a career in medicine and plans on going down the pre-med track by studying Public Health with a minor in Spanish. Samuel is a first-generation American as his parents originate from Ghana, and he is a proud Black scholar. In his acceptance to the Themtorship Program he states, "I am so excited to be a part of this diverse and supportive community of like-minded individuals! I feel that it is something I truly need in order to pick the university that is right for me and ultimately grow as an individual."
Alexa Garcia (She/Her)
Alexa originates from Tranquillity, CA and is a senior at Tranquillity High School. She wishes to become a Midwife Nurse, and wants to study Anatomy and minor in Chicano Studies. After being accepted into the Themtorship Program she stated, “I can’t wait to be a part of the program as a Woman of Color and first generation student. Thanks the program for the chance to be a part of it.”
Alexandra Nuñez (She/Her)
Alexandra was born in Fresno, CA and is a senior at Mendota High School. Alexandra is set to graduate in 2023 with both her high school and associates degree in AG science technology. She aspires to become an orthodontist, and wants to major in biology. She states, "As a first-generation student, who lives in a small low-income town, I am glad to have received this opportunity! The Themtorship Program is providing students like me a preview and ease on the college application process. I am happy that this program is giving us the chance to build connections with other students who also seek a bright future while supporting us throughout the way.”
Zamaury Dickson (He/Him)
Zamaury originates from Fresno, CA and is a senior at Roosevelt High School. Zamaury has hopes of becoming a Chemical Engineer and is also interested in studying Criminology. In Zamaury’s program acceptance he states, ”I am so honored to be a part of the Themtorship Program! As a first-generation and low-income student, obtaining a higher education will be difficult, but with the help of the Themtorship program I know I will achieve my college goals as well as many more opportunities to come."
Genesis Flores (She/Her)
Genesis originates from Tracy, CA and is a senior at Delta Charter Online. She has hopes of becoming a Forensic Psychologist, and wants to study Criminal Justice with a minor in music. In Genesis's program acceptance she states, "I am so happy to be a part of the Themtorship Program! As a Latina and first-generation student, applying to schools is not going to be easy. I'm excited for what this program has to offer and I'm so grateful for the help provided to students like me who are trying to build their future!"
Jiceleidi Soto (She/Her)
Jiceleidi originates from Fresno, CA and is a rising senior at Roosevelt High School. While still discovering her college goals and passions, she hopes to attain a degree to be a support system for herself and her family. In her program acceptance Jiceleidi states, "I am so grateful and thankful to be joining the Themtorship Program! I am happy that this program exists to support and aid my college application process as an undocumented and first-generation student. I know this program will further lead to the success of my future!"
Reflecting On Language - Why Themtor & Not "Mentor"
Reflecting on the power of language, we made the intentional transition to use themtor in replacement of 'mentor' to show inclusion of trans, non-binary, genderqueer, and all other marginalized genders. Our organization particularly uses this spelling to separate ourselves from exclusionary 'mentorship' programs. This change demonstrates our ongoing commitment to serving non-male, marginalized genders.
To learn more about the Themtorship Program, click here. If you would like to support our organization in continuing programs like this one, click here. For questions about this article or the Themtorship Program more generally, please contact us.