Guadalupe Ortiz • Mentor, Program Alumna

Guadalupe graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Political Science and received a Masters degree in Public and Nonprofit management from Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. While in high school, she was a mentor to Borel students. Guadalupe became an active staff member while at Berkeley and stayed involved after graduation. She strongly believes that higher education should be made available to all students and works with the SMYF to help achieve this goal. She hopes that the organization will be able to mentor and guide many more students into higher education as it helped her and countless others. Her work with the SMYF and experiences with our students have shaped her belief that systemic change is necessary in order to provide all students with equal opportunities.

Monica Porter • Mentor, Program Alumna

Born and raised in San Mateo, Monica has been a member of the San Mateo Youth Foundation (SMYF) since graduating from Borel Middle School in 2001. Remaining with SMYF throughout her four years at Hillsdale High School, Monica’s fondest memories are of the annual camping trip and the first time she visited UC Berkeley. With the help of the SMYF, Monica was the first in her family to attend a four-year university – she graduated from UC Berkeley in May 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare and minors in Public Policy and Disability Studies. After graduation Monica returned to San Mateo and began working with JusticeCorps – an AmeriCorps program that provides legal assistance to people who cannot afford attorneys. Monica is thrilled to serve SMYF as a mentor because it is a strong, knowledgeable program that has the best interests of our community’s students at heart. Any time there is an SMYF event and Monica gets to spend time with the students, it is the best part of her day.

José Gonzalez • Mentor, Program Alumnus

Jose has lived in San Mateo his entire life, having attended George Hall Elementary, Bayside Middle School, and Hillsdale High School. Jose has always been active in sports, and has graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Political Science. Jose hopes to attend law school in the future. Going on field trips with the SMYF to various colleges and interacting with students who were themselves in college motivated Jose and provided him with resources to get to where he is now. He chose to stay active in the organization because he feels there are too many high school students that are intimidated and scared off by the college application process as well as the cost of higher education. As a mentor, Jose takes pride in sharing the steps he took, letting them know that higher education is a possibility for them.

Loretta Hayesbert • Mentor, Program Alumna

Loretta Haysbert received her degree from UC Berkeley in Social Welfare and Education. Loretta continues to work actively with the San Mateo Youth Foundation (SMYF) in every way possible. The SMYF has made her educational aspirations a reality and taught her that she can achieve anything in life despite financial and family hardships. Growing up, her parents, had and still have, major health problems due to past drug use and are constantly struggling financially. With the help of the SMYF and Ira Birnbaum, she was able to get the emotional and financial support to go to school. She never thought she’d be able to go to a school as good as Berkeley but the SMYF believed in her and her abilities and gave her something she could never have imagined–a future. She loves the SMYF and everything it stands for. She believes that with kind hearted people like Ira Birnbaum and others in the foundation, we can change the lives of students who may not have the resources or support to go on to higher education.

Cristina Gutierrez • Mentor, Program Alumna

Cristina has lived in San Mateo all her life. She attended Beresford Elementary School, Abbott Middle School, and Hillsdale High School. She will be starting her freshman year at UC Santa Cruz in the fall of 2013. As an active member of the SMYF, she was thrilled to become a mentor and help students like her.


Hilaria Barajas • Mentor, Program Alumna

Having been in the program since 8th grade, Hilary became more and more involved in the San Mateo Youth Foundation throughout her four years at Hillsdale High School. A Beresford Elementary, Abbott Middle School, and Hillsdale High graduate, Hilary will be entering UC Santa Cruz in the fall of 2013. Hilary plans on staying as involved as possible with the SMYF team and would eventually like to become a board member. Hilary believes that through the mentors help, Ira’s wise words, and all of the fun activities SMYF has to offer, any student can achieve their fullest potential.

Delena Padilla • Mentor, Program Alumna

Delena has been involved in the San Mateo Youth Foundation ever since she graduated from Abbott Middle school in 2009 and continued throughout her years at Hillsdale High School. The San Mateo Youth Foundation positively shaped her 4 years in high school by pushing her mentally and academically. Delena will be attending UC Santa Cruz in the fall of 2013. Delena plans to get involved in the medical field when she attends college.

More mentor profiles coming soon!