From the first minute this military man stepped foot in our door, children began following him around like the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
Mario is a staff sergeant currently stationed at McGuire Air Force Base in Burlington County. He recently returned from a tour of duty in Japan and has also served in Iraq and Qatar.
Though a Boys & Girls Club exists on the base, he expressed that the children of military families have many resources at their disposal and wanted to “go outside the gates” to help those less fortunate.
Mario began volunteering at the club as a mentor in “Be Great, Graduate”, a program serving children in grades 5-8 and focusing on steering youth in a positive direction.
Mentees develop goal sheets that help guide their progress and keep them focused on positive behavior, school attendance, and academic achievement.
Mario works closely with his student, providing academic and behavioral assistance, offering acknowledgment for milestones reached, and always modeling positive life skills.
Brimming with ideas and a passion to serve, Mario never misses as opportunity to spontaneously bring together a group of kids to talk about anything on their minds, help them with their homework, and remind them about the importance of staying focused.
“It has been a humbling experience for me. I didn’t expect to see some of the environments the kids are coming from and it has made me go home and count my blessings. I have a lot of fun being with the kids and it’s a great stress reliever.”
In his spare time, Mario enjoys spending time with his two year old son, watching the news, writing short stories, and traveling.
You can make a difference just like Mario by becoming a volunteer today!