Although January is National Mentoring Month, you can make an impact any time of the year as a mentor at Denver Rescue Mission. It is not a requirement to have lived a life free from struggles and mistakes—in fact, for mentors like Rogelio, it has been his past trials that have given him even more confidence to be a mentor at the Mission.

Rogelio has been a mentor for two men in the New Life Program (NLP), a year-long rehabilitation program for men. His current mentee is Albert, who you met in our July 2021 edition of Changing Lives, the Mission’s monthly newsletter. Through their mentorship, Rogelio has not only met Albert for one-on-one check-ins, but he has taken him out to eat, to a baseball game, to one of his work events, and to other social activities.

Albert (left) and Rogelio (right) at the Chili Festival in Brighton.

Albert (left) and Rogelio (right) at Albert’s New Life Program graduation.

With each of the men he has mentored, Rogelio has shared his own struggles in life in order to develop a connection with them.

“I haven’t been homeless, but I know what it’s like to struggle.”

“My parents divorced when I was very young, [leaving me] without a father and with the abusive alcoholic boyfriends that my mother had. When I was eight my dad got me from Mexico and brought me to the U.S., but I had already witnessed a lot of traumas,” Rogelio said. “I haven’t been homeless, but I know what it’s like to struggle.”

Mentoring Is a Calling

For Rogelio, mentoring is not just something he does to fill the time—mentoring is a calling. He is a compassionate person who has always felt drawn to opportunities to help others.

“I’ve worked in a mental institution, worked with adults with down syndrome and brain and spinal problems, worked with adults [struggling with] self-harm, and worked in education teaching math and writing,” he said. “All of that has led me towards empowering others and helping them to get better.”

After working with people from all walks of life, Rogelio felt like mentoring at the Mission was a perfect fit. He felt called to help those at the Mission realize that they can find the light at the end of whatever dark tunnel they are currently in.

“For Albert, he decided to be real with himself and say, ‘I’m the only one that can change myself,’” Rogelio said. “He saw the light at the end of the tunnel and said, ‘You know what, I can get there again.’”

Through their mentorship, Rogelio has encouraged Albert to hold onto the reality that he can get back to a life of self-sufficiency. By inviting Albert into his own life, Rogelio asks Albert to do the same through what can sometimes be hard-to-answer questions. “[Mentoring] is not just about meeting with them, it’s about showing them what a normal life is like and that they can get there again,” Rogelio said. “It’s also about asking open-ended questions such as: what are you learning, are you struggling and do you feel like where you’re at right now is where you want to be?”

Mentoring begins with the decision to invest in someone else’s future. Like Rogelio, you can invest in someone like Albert by being the support and friend that they truly need. “You might have not experienced what they have been through but put yourself in their shoes. What if that were your family member—your brother, uncle or father? This could happen to anybody,” Rogelio said. “It’s not about asking, ‘What did that person do to get there?’ rather, ‘What can I do to help this person out?’”

Mentors Change Lives Like Albert’s

Rogelio currently is mentoring Albert, a New Life Program graduate who was featured in our June 2021 Changing Lives newsletter.

“Denver Rescue Mission saved my life. My goal is to get my life back to where it was, because I gave up a good life. I came [here] with one mission, and that was to complete this program and graduate. I won’t take anything less than that.”

Albert, New Life Program participant
You Paved the Road to Recovery 5

You Can Mentor Men in Need

Get Started Mentoring Today

As a mentor in our New Life Program, you can change lives by providing relational, emotional and spiritual support to men in need. Other mentoring opportunities include working with refugee families or low-income families and seniors.

Written by: Linneya Gardner, Content Specialist