Connie Salcido knows the importance of a mentor who encourages, supports and “plants the seed” to new opportunities and possibilities.
“In ninth grade, I had an art teacher who had a big impact on me,” says Salcido, who volunteers and mentors about four hours per week for The Friendship Club. “That was really a formidable year. I was very introverted and very shy.”
The connection helped Salcido become more confident, learn more about herself and pursue her interests. It also helped pave the way for a lifetime of success.
After high school, Salcido came across a newspaper ad recruiting applicants interested in learning business machine repair.
Her curiosity was piqued. She embraced the opportunity and found a fast-growing and good-paying career in digital electronics, where she was often one of the few women in the workplace.
“As a young woman, you can try anything,” says Salcido, who is semi-retired after a 37-year career that included positions with Xerox, IBM and EMC (later acquired by Dell). “You need to have a curious mind.”
It’s an approach she brings to Bright Futures for Youth as a volunteer and soon as a mentor with The Friendship Club, after recently completing mentor training.
“I want to give back to the community,” says Salcido, who moved from the Bay Area to Nevada County in 1994.
And The Friendship Club program “fits into my experience as a woman,” says Salcido, who has been busy driving girls after school to The Friendship Club twice a week as a volunteer since 2019.
“I want to help girls be heard,” she says of her new role as a mentor. “I’m looking forward to learning more about them … These kids are going through different things than we did.”
And Salcido is aware of the many challenges and demands as the mother of a 22-year-old daughter, a graduate of Nevada Union High School who is pursuing her doctorate in physics.
“Everybody’s different, and you have to be adaptable,” says Salcido, who is looking forward to developing a relationship with her mentee and spending quality time together, whether it’s archery, learning a new craft or sharing a meal at a local restaurant. “I don’t need to have all the answers, I just need to know where to find them.”
And that type of connection and support can change a life – for the girl and the mentor.
“Success would be a new friend in my life.”