Pedro and Tim: The Transfer of Joy

When Pedro, a college student in the Bay Area, was applying to transfer from his community college to Stanford, he hesitated to ask his mentor Tim for a letter of recommendation. "I just don't like asking for things, and I didn't want Tim to think 'Oh, he only wanted me for a letter of recommendation,’" Pedro said.

It turned out there was nothing to worry about. When they discussed his transfer applications, Tim offered to write a letter of recommendation before Pedro even had to ask – and he shared wisdom from his own experience.

"I've been through that so many times - the worry about making someone feel obligated or being a burden by asking for something," Tim told Pedro, who he started mentoring during Pedro's junior year of high school. "But I have learned that people love to help - they get a lot of joy from it. So don't be shy to ask, because you're actually giving someone the opportunity to do something we innately want to do: help each other out."

Tim, who works as a director at Salesforce’s nonprofit arm,, is quick to share that being Pedro's mentor has brought him a lot of joy. "When I signed up to mentor five years ago, I didn't know what to expect. I've gotten so much more out of this than I ever imagined," he said. "When I joined iMentor, I thought 'I'll help Pedro get to college'. We have certainly talked a lot about college, but it's so much more than that.”

Pedro agrees. "I love hearing about Tim's family, his two daughters, and how his life has changed since he moved to Texas. Tim is more than a mentor; I would consider him a friend," he said.

Pedro aspires to a career as a software developer, and when they first met, he impressed Tim right away with his curiosity and desire to learn. "I remember we met up in San Francisco and we were walking down the sidewalk talking about personal finance, and Pedro was asking all sorts of questions about credit cards and car loans,” Tim said. “He has a real hunger for knowledge.”

Then there was the Monday that Tim asked Pedro what he had done that weekend and learned that Pedro had spent his weekend in an online software intensive to learn Java. At one iMentor event, the pair toured Google’s corporate offices together, and Tim fondly remembers seeing Pedro’s eyes light up as he envisioned what his career could look like.

In high school, Pedro’s dream was to study software development at UC Berkeley, but he hit a disappointing setback senior year when he was not accepted to Berkeley. “At that point, I didn’t really know what to do,” Pedro said. “Everybody I spoke with had a really negative impression of community college. Tim was the person who really put everything into perspective, that I could go to community college and transfer. Who cares about other people say? I’m the one on this journey. And if UC Berkeley's the dream, then I should still go for it.”

Now, Pedro is in the midst of doing exactly that – applying for transfers, with Tim’s support. And it has already paid off. After getting accepted to UC Santa Cruz and UC Riverside, he recently received a letter of admission from UC Berkeley. He is now waiting to hear from Stanford as well as other schools in the UC system.

“Seeing Pedro go through this process has given me so much pride and so much happiness,” said Tim. “When he got into Santa Cruz, I told my wife and she was just as excited as I was. I feel super proud of everything Pedro’s done.”

Thinking about Tim’s role in his life made Pedro want to be able to offer that to others. "Having Tim there really put everything in perspective and helped me see the big picture,” he said. “I realized that if I could be somebody’s Tim, I would.” This realization prompted Pedro to sign up to mentor new students at his community college, College of Alameda, where he is currently mentoring six incoming students.

Feeling inspired? iMentor is recruiting mentors in Baltimore, the Bay Area, Chicago, and New York City. Learn more about how you can become a mentor and support a young person as they pursue their college and career goals.