Beyond Salesian is a mentor program designed for new Salesian College Preparatory graduates (our “scholars”) who need support and direction as they navigate the first two years of college. Most Beyond Salesian scholars tend to be the first members of their families to pursue post-secondary education. Our mentors are tasked with providing advice and guidance as well as discussing any concerns or challenges our scholars may have as they begin their college studies.
Salesian graduates are socially responsible young men and women. We are so proud of them as they graduate after a rigorous college preparatory experience.
A number of our graduates will become the first in their family to attend college. Going to college opens up a whole new world and it is sometimes difficult to navigate all the decisions that must be made before you attend your first college class, if you don’t have a ready guide.
We have found that each year, we have a handful or more students who struggle with transitioning to college, particularly at one of our great community colleges or a larger Cal State University. While they are academically ready, they just need a little advice on college life, registering for classes, and such.
We started Beyond Salesian with these students in mind. It is a “near peer” and mentor program. The near peer will be a college student in their junior or senior year or a recent college graduate. The mentor will be someone with a bit more life experience (older adults, many who have helped their own children navigate their way to success in college). Beyond Salesian will match every student, who chooses to participate in the program, with a near peer and a mentor as resources to act as a sounding board, or be a person to turn to about college classes and life at college. All are volunteers who believe in the Salesian Family.
Family helps family to succeed. Beyond Salesian is here to help our graduates go beyond Salesian into the collegiate world and thrive to become the leaders of the future. Please consider being part of Beyond Salesian, your experience can be a tremendous asset for our (soon to be) Salesian graduates!
- 7 Reasons to Become a Mentor or Near Peer
- Would I make a good Mentor or Near Peer?
- Find Out More
1. There are great graduating seniors at Salesian College Preparatory in need of another caring adult in their lives.
2. Beyond Salesian is a school-based mentoring program where students first meet their adult mentor to establish a relationship to help the student succeed in post-secondary education.
3. Time commitment: minimum of 3 or 4 conversations each year between student and mentor beginning 3rd quarter of the student’s senior year at Salesian College Preparatory and continuing through the student’s first two years in college.
4. Both student and mentor learn (and benefit) from this relationship.
5. Empower and encourage young students that are part of our community.
6. Be part of our Salesian College Preparatory community which educates young men & women to develop into good citizens for the betterment of society and the glory of God. Salesian is a caring environment, in accordance with St. John Bosco’s educational philosophy of reason, religion and loving kindness.
7. Share your experience and expand a young adult’s knowledge of the world in which they live.
“Would I make a good Mentor or Near Peer?”
If you can answer YES to these questions, you are a perfect candidate to become a Beyond Salesian Mentor or Near Peer. Let’s have a conversation. (this would be a link to the inquire form)
I am a good listener.
Mentors and Near Peers act as a “sounding board” for students to share their ideas, academic and career aspirations and the challenges they are facing.
I have a strong desire to have a positive impact on the lives of others.
Mentors and Near Peers have an innate ability to motivate themselves and others for the betterment of society.
I have had experience helping a student successfully navigate college life.
Many of our Mentors have previously helped family members (their own children, siblings, nieces & nephews) or friends by providing advice on college life. Though past experience is helpful for you to be a Mentor, it is not a pre-requisite. Put simply, a Mentor brings different life experiences (career and job experiences) that will benefit our Salesian scholar.
I am willing to share my skills, knowledge and experiences.
Mentor and Near Peers provide guidance and advice to students when making decisions on the best course of action to take in various situations often based on their own experience and knowledge.
A Near Peer will initially focus on providing our Salesian scholar with someone who can respond to questions about daily college life.
We envision the (older) Mentor providing our Salesian scholar with someone who can respond to questions concerning college life that aren’t necessarily about campus life, class schedules, dormitory or college activities that might be best directed to their near peer who has more recent college experience.
The Mentor has job experience and has successfully navigated the process of choosing a career path and capitalizing on their abilities. In short, the Mentor has experience post-school that will provide perspective to our Scholar. Also, the Mentor will help guide our Scholar to, hopefully, avoid some common pitfalls of making the transition to post-high school life. Mentor can focus on questions about housing, ramifications of choice of fields of study post-college, potential career path, introductions to their friends and colleagues (their “network”).
I am able to form trusted and meaningful relationships.
Mentors and Near Peers have a desire to respectfully learn about the “whole” student with empathy and a willingness to invest their time to get to know the student in order to provide honest and direct feedback.
A Near Peer will guide our Beyond Salesian scholar through a college process that they themselves recently went through and possibly be able to teach them “skills” that they recently learned that will benefit our Scholar. A Near Peer has a wide variety of majors, backgrounds, and extracurricular interests, but share a common goal of easing the anxiety of our Beyond Salesian scholar through the beginning of their college pursuit starting with the college application process. They have recent knowledge of the task at hand, an ability to empathize with their Beyond Salesian Scholar and give relevant insight, and the wherewithal to not do the student’s work for them.
A Near Peer may provide invaluable insight to our Beyond Salesian Scholar into the universities that they attend or recently attended. A Near Peer may help our Scholar correctly complete their financial aid forms and/or scholarship applications.
A Near Peer’s insight is not limited to just the programs at their university, but to other facets of student life. Things such as organizations on campus, student traditions for their homecoming football game, etc., are unique to each school and help give it a distinct personality. A Near Peer’s collective knowledge can’t be replicated through online research and campus tours.
The proximity in age between the Beyond Salesian Scholar and their Near Peer will likely make the former more comfortable about opening up and sharing their personal experiences. Beyond the insight a Near Peer can provide is their ability to empathize with their student. There is no replacement for experiencing the anxiety, confusion, and uncertainty of applying to college firsthand. This ability to empathize is especially true when these unnerving feelings were a recent reality and not a distant memory.
- Joe Reid
- Kelly Robinson, Director Of Near Peer Program
- Jack Stevens, Director of Guidance
- Tery Lizarraga, Director of Mentor Program
- Janet O'Hair, Co-Director Of Scholars
- Litzia Martin, Co-Director Of Scholars
Joe Reid has a passion for Catholic education. He is eager to help Salesian College Preparatory prosper as the challenge of educating and inspiring young men and women become integral contributors to our community.
Both Joe (alumnus St. Ignatius College Preparatory, San Francisco) and wife Denise (alumna Presentation, San Francisco) are products of Catholic education. They are active parishioners at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Walnut Creek.
Joe has served as Finance Committee Chairperson for the Oakland diocesan schools as well as on numerous other boards and committees in service to the Catholic Church. A graduate of UC Santa Barbara with an MBA in Taxation from Golden Gate University, Joe recently retired from a 40-year career as an International Tax Advisor for the Chevron Corporation. He states, “It was a career that took me to five continents and taught me how much lessons learned through our faith are needed in our world.”
Kelly Robinson’s history with Salesian goes back to the early 80’s when she attended Presentation-Berkeley and her brothers attended Salesian. When the time came to select a high school for her son Elijah, Kelly’s (and Elijah’s) first choice was Salesian. For Kelly, stepping back on Salesian’s campus after many years felt like a homecoming. Now a Salesian alum, Elijah Ponton ‘15 is a senior architectural design student, living in and attending school at Sacramento State. Kelly is also the mom of Joshua, a junior at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Conservatory, studying Contemporary Dance, and Delilah a high school senior at Oakland School of the Arts, concentrating on visual arts and photography.
Kelly is the creator and CEO of Coach to Discover, Inc. Kelly is an International Coach Federation Professional Certified Coach (ICF-PCC), an Organizational Relationship Systems Certified Coach (ORSCC), and holds a Health and Wellness BCC (Board Certified Coach). She is a certified Conscious Business Coach, holds a certificate in Transformational Leadership and has a master’s in Public Administration. Kelly has more than 6 years of experience coaching government, corporate, and non-profit sector leaders, teams, boards, and organizations.
Jack Stevens grew up in the Bay Area suburbs in what was then the small town of Dublin, CA. After attending a few different colleges and universities, he graduated from St. Mary’s College, receiving his Bachelor's Degree in Psychology with a minor in Mathematics. Mr. Stevens began his career teaching Math for eight years at Bishop O’Dowd High School and eventually earned his Masters Degree in Counseling. He joined the faculty at Salesian in 1997, doing academic and college counseling as well as teaching a course in Mathematics. Mr. Stevens enjoys hiking, traveling, and watching sports.
Tery Lizarraga and her husband, John, joined the Salesian family when their daughters Megan and Jackie enrolled as a freshmen in 2008 and 2010. The entire Lizarraga family loves basketball and were a part of Salesian’s Girls Basketball Program. Megan and Jackie played, Tery coached and John scouted and took game film. Tery and John enjoyed it so much, they stayed with the program after the girls graduated. Megan attended Cal Poly and is working under an architect while obtaining her license. Jackie attended Lewis and Clark College and is in Samuel Merritt’s Occupational Therapy Program.
Tery is a big believer in education and is excited to be back at Salesian on the Beyond Salesian team. Tery worked her way through college, attending Contra Costa College prior to transferring to UC Berkeley and obtaining an engineering degree. She had a 30 year career with Chevron working at the Richmond Refinery in the engineering, operations and the environmental and safety departments. She retired from Chevron while on assignment in China. She has a consulting business and is currently consulting and working on a College Coaching Certificate from UC San Diego. Tery enjoyed helping her girls and their friends navigate through the college admission process and looks forward to supporting Salesian students as they transition to college.
Ms. O’Hair graduated from Ursuline High School in Santa Rosa and earned a BFA in Acting from Syracuse University in New York. She worked as a professional actor and director in New York City for over 20 years. In New York, she also taught drama and directed plays at The Browning School and The Convent of the Sacred Heart. Ms. O’Hair then moved to England and taught drama and directed at Aldenham, a school dating back to 1587. She joined the faculty at Salesian in 2008. In addition to directing the plays and musicals and teaching Drama and ESL I, she also is the moderator for several clubs including the Film Club, The Drama Club, National Honor Society and co-moderator of Adulting 101. Ms. O’Hair enjoys cycling, travel, reading, and theatre.
Ms. Martin found her way back home to Salesian in 2015 after graduating from St. Mary’s College of CA. She earned her Master’s Degree in Teaching and her California Teaching Credential in 2018. Ms. Martin is the Senior Class Moderator and co-moderator of the Salsa Club (a club that she founded as a Salesian student), Adulting 101 and Math Club. In her free time, you can find Ms. Martin having fun with her family and friends at coffee shops and concerts.