Link ONE Mentoring, ONE True Light Inc., Duncan
All police officers swear to serve and protect. Julio Alvarez has taken that oath beyond his position as master police officer with the Duncan Police Department to his work with Link ONE Mentoring, which he has served since the program’s earliest days. He additionally has served as its board president for three years.
In early community meetings, Alvarez shared his personal experiences with abuse as a young man and described the mentor who helped him move forward and become the man he is today.
Three and a half years ago, Alvarez took his involvement to another level when he became a mentor to Tristan Hagler; it was a decision that was to have a deep and long-lasting impact on both, and a way for Alvarez to pay it forward.
During the early stage of their mentor/mentee relationship, Alvarez participated in outdoor activities with Tristan and his friends and provided guidance to their playground soccer games.
Alvarez’s commitment to Tristan was not lost on the boy’s fourth-grade teacher, who observed: “My student’s mentor went out of his way to work with my student and to play with ALL of the fourth-graders at recess. Such a great role model for all our kids!”
However, notes Jill Harris with Link ONE, “not all matches are golden from day one.
“Julio stuck it out through some difficult days, eventually forming a bond with Tristan. Tristan’s family suffered a tragic loss of their home to fire a few years ago. Julio reached out to assist them in finding a home and other resources they needed.”
The family left the community for a while, but upon Tristan’s return to Duncan Middle School, Harris notes, Tristan immediately asked if his mentor would be returning to see him.
When Harris asked Alvarez what he has gained from mentoring, he responded, “Patience! But, more seriously, I have gained the ability to look forward to where people are today, look at who they truly are, where they came from, and consider the circumstances in their life that brought them to where and who they are today.”
Harris points out that Alvarez’s story of giving doesn’t stop with his work with the nonprofit. “During his three-year stint as our board president, he and his wife have also fostered and adopted three young children. They truly demonstrate how a ‘can and WILL-DO’ spirit can impact a community and individual lives.”
About the Program: Link ONE Mentoring is the cornerstone project of One True Light, a nonprofit connecting local churches and concerned citizens to meet the needs of Duncan Public Schools’ students. Link ONE mentors volunteer once a week, providing support and encouragement, lending a listening ear, and helping students form a positive vision for their future. They may provide academic support or simply help to boost the child’s self-esteem by being a dependable positive adult role model.