Carlos Arocho – Mentored at Camelot – Now a Mentor to Others
January is National Mentoring Month and for many students attending Camelot schools, mentoring has proven to be invaluable in uplifting young men and women and helping them to see their true worth as productive human beings.
Carlos Arocho, 20, attended Camelot’s Cunningham Academy, which is part of the Vineland, NJ, School District. Arocho came into the school with what he said was a sour attitude that began to change after a few months.
“I was a little stubborn and hard-headed. I couldn’t see that the teachers and support staff wanted the best for us,” he said. “But I was wrong. I began to see that the teachers really, truly wanted the best for us and that often they used their own personal time to help us. It helped in ways I never realized; like helping us find jobs and things like that. I saw they really wanted to make a difference in our lives.”
Students in this program have experienced disciplinary violations and were removed from their home campuses. The students from Cunningham Academy eventually return to their home schools with improved behavior, attendance, and academics. Arocho said the teachers establish a one-on-one connection with their students. In his other schools, the teachers generally didn’t go in that direction. At Cunningham Academy, Arocho said the teachers and staff made every effort to help their students to the best of their abilities.
“They give you a solid foundation – not just with your school work – but for being able to navigate through the world outside of school,” Arocho said. “In the mornings we would have sessions where we could just open up and talk. We could talk about anything we wanted and express how we really felt. Even the teachers and staff members did that. It was helpful to be able to let things out and not be judged. It brings the students and teachers closer together. You get to learn about life.”
Arocho graduated in 2016. He is employed and works two jobs; one for United Parcel Service and the second as a paraprofessional at Cunningham Academy. He mentors students who came through the same difficulties he did. Also, he married his long-time girlfriend and they are expecting their first child – a son – due to enter the world on May 10th.
“My wife and I are looking to sign a one-year lease on an apartment and a year later, begin looking for a house,” he said. “Camelot really made a difference in my life and as a mentor myself, I get to help other young people see the value in themselves. My long-term goal is to get a real estate license. I’d like to be an investor one day.”