Congratulate our volunteer of the month, Joe Carfora! Joe has a passion for mentoring students of all ages and providing them with the guidance needed to be successful in life. Prior to coming to Florida a couple of years ago, Joe helped elementary and middle school students with math and reading needs and provided general advice to them regarding the sports they played and how to set goals. But his real passion was to work with high school students, and we are fortunate at UnidosNow that he found us before another organization could grab him.
Last year Joe volunteered to mentor one of our students and also assisted us by reviewing several student essays before they were submitted with college applications. This summer Joe has agreed to mentor three students and, as usual, is putting his whole heart into it. He has an amazing way of connecting with teenagers and understands how challenging it can be to interact with students at this age. Joe doesn’t use a cookie cutter approach to mentoring. He takes the time to understand each student’s personal story and aspirations, and then seeks to guide them on their unique path to success.
Joe goes the extra mile with his students, whether it’s conducting his own research to familiarize himself with colleges that might offer a student’s major, or meeting with a student’s guidance counselor since the student’s parents were unable to speak English, or taking the time to meet and encourage parents who so badly want their children to get ahead.
We pride ourselves at UnidosNow for seeking out students with grit, students with the perseverance needed to overcome the many obstacles they face in high school, and will continue to face in college and beyond. Joe understands that mentors have to be equally gritty because mentoring is not easy. He also understands that getting into college and eventually graduating takes more than strong academics –it takes life skills that are not normally taught in our schools. And here is where Joe excels, as he has lived a full and successful life, and has so much wisdom to share. Joe arrived in our region to retire after spending over 4o successful years in the plastics industry. But anyone who knows Joe understands that retirement is not part of his make-up. He is still an active board member in his chosen industry, and has played a leadership role in his community, Lakewood Ranch. Also, he is a proud alum of Rutgers University and often represents the school at college fairs.
Joe is a dedicated husband and a proud father and grandfather. We are so grateful to have him as a member of our team, and are equally grateful to his wife Sharon for supporting Joe as he pursues his passion for giving back to the community.