Citizens Business Bank commits volunteers and funding to the Mentorship Program

Citizens Bank Mentorship

Citizens Business Bank reaffirmed its commitment to the Green Dot Public Schools Mentorship Program with a $15,000 donation to sustain and expand the program, in its second year.

The financial institution also has four employees as mentors to 11th and 10th graders in Ánimo City of Champions High School in Los Angeles, including Jess Tirado, vice president of Community Development  at the bank. He presented the check recently at the school, highlighting the importance of mentors in the students’ academic life.

“It’s so important because I know that when I was young how much I needed encouragement or just a positive word and sometimes from your family it’s not enough, you know your parents love you and family supports you,” said Tirado, who mentors two students at the school. “Sometimes you need other people that are not part of your family just to say that we also see something special in you and I just know how important that is I’m able to help a young person, especially in elementary, middle, high school just to give them the push that they need sometimes, I’m happy to do it.”

Besides Tirado, Citizens Business Bank employees Karina Vazquez, Victor Ramirez and Eric Ung participate in the program. Vazquez entered her second year and was vital in getting support from the bank in both financial and volunteer commitments.

Tirado says his co-workers are very enthusiastic about mentoring the students, as they look forward to their sessions with them.

“They are very enthusiastic… I was shooting for five (employees). I was trying to see if we could get five people at the bank, so we got four. The four that we have, me included, we all realize how important it is,” adds Tirado. “The youngest one of our group (Ung) actually completed college himself. Working at Citizens Bank that’s the first real job that he’s had. He was a little hesitant because he said he didn’t have the work experience, the life experience. I told him you are probably going to be the best mentor because you’re closer in age to a lot of these students. They are going to relate to you a lot better… he’s loved it.”

Theo Ossei-Anto, Green Dot Public Schools Director of Mentorship, welcomed the commitment that the band has made to the program, highlighting the importance of the employees’ desire to be mentors at City of Champions.

“It’s absolutely the commitment and we are really grateful for the relationship that we have with Citizens and the commitment that they are making to our mentorship program and particularly to our students,” said Ossei-Anto. “I think that one of the coolest things is that Jesse’s mentee is here for the event and not only is this a connection of the companies but is a connection of actual people that are coming together.”

Citizens Business Bank donation will help sustain the program and encourage other partners to join the initiative. Hillcrest High School in South Memphis is also part of the initial stage of the program.

Tirado reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to the Mentorship Program, as they are integral in the success of communities in the Los Angeles area.

“It’s so important. We know at Citizens Business Bank that no community can be successful unless there’s support from banks, financial institutions. There are companies that are doing well. We are not going to be successful if our people, our communities aren’t successful as well,” explained Tirado.

The Green Dot National Mentorship Program serves high school students attending school in historically underserved communities located in South/East Los Angeles and South Memphis  and is part of the commitment to prepare students for college, leadership and life.