At the BAGS Scholarship Foundation we focus our efforts on bettering the lives of disadvantaged kids in our community.  We understand the importance of nurturing this lost group of youngsters and aim to provide them with the necessary tools to become active, productive members of their community.

There are two distinct tracks to the BAGS Foundation program:

1.     Offering the hope of a bright future to the troubled youth of our community 2.     Offering opportunity through sports development and competition Over the next few months we’re going to pull back the curtains and introduce you to the amazing men and women devoting their time and energy to the youth of Waterbury, CT.

Today, meet Adriana Quinones.

Adriana enjoying the aquarium with her daughter and mentee
Adriana enjoying the aquarium with her daughter and mentee
Q: Adriana, how long have you worked with the BAGS Scholarship Foundation? A: I have worked with BAGS for 3 years.  I serve as the Director of Education, as well as the mentor supervisor. Q: What are the specific responsibilities of a BAGS mentor?  A: As a mentor we help guide children through difficult times, cope with challenges and to try to become well-rounded young adults. Q: What age group do you work with?  A: I work with children of all ages, but mostly teens. Q: How much time each week do you dedicate to mentoring? A: BAGS mentors are signed up to work with children for 5 hours a week, but I always exceed that number. I usually end up mentoring 10 hours each week. Q: What is your favorite thing about mentoring the children in your local community? A: My favorite thing about mentoring is seeing positive changes in the lives of my mentees. Q: What’s one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had as a BAGS mentor? A: I’m lucky in that I get to relive my most memorable experience – taking students to experience things they’ve never seen or done before. Some of my kids have never gone to the zoo or aquarium. I enjoy seeing kids be kids and being allowed to escape from their situations for a beautiful moment. Q: Tell me about a breakthrough or transformation you’ve seen in a specific student(s)? A: I worked with a girl named Nashalie. When she first started at BAGS she was failing classes and getting into trouble at school. This past year she passed all of her classes, worked two jobs over the summer (saved money in her own account), and began talking about attending college. She recently moved to another city, but she and I still keep in touch. Q: What changes have you seen in your community as a result of the work BAGS has done over the past several years? A: The changes I’ve seen vary from student to student. Some students have had very significant changes (e.g. getting off probation and graduating from high school). They have made BAGS their home; sometimes it’s the only home they have. Q: Many people want to give back to their community and get involved.  What would you say are the qualities that make a successful youth mentor? A: A successful youth mentor, I think, is a person who has had his or her own struggles and can speak from experience. When students realize their life isn’t that much different from yours they begin to listen more. When they realize you were able to succeed they see it’s possible for them. Mentors have to be passionate in what they do. They have to be great listeners. Q: If others are interested in becoming a BAGS mentor like you, what should they do? A: To become a mentor, he or she can contact me – aquinones@bagsfoundationct.com. They will go through a vetting process where they submit a personal profile, fill out paperwork, and are run through a background check. The process usually takes a month.