Today is National Good News Day, and the good news at Fresno State is that students like Fernando Segura of Fresno are making a difference in the lives of troubled youth, as mentors at the Fresno County Juvenile Justice Campus.
Gimundo (wwwlimundo.com), a daily “good news” supplement, announced that it will welcome summer by declaring the first day of the season, June 21, to be National Good News Day.
Segura’s good news is his efforts to provide guidance and support to youth through the year-old Fresno MOSAIC (Mentoring to Overcome Struggles and Inspire Courage) program developed at California State University, Fresno.
The program allows Segura, a senior majoring in Social Work, to provide individualized mentoring skills that assist youth in reaching their goals for education, vocation, building healthier relationships and obtaining a substance and crime-free lifestyle.
The Fresno MOSAIC Project links Fresno State students with youth struggling to overcome gang and family violence, drug and alcohol abuse, academic failure and unhealthy relationships. The program began last summer as a joint effort of the Department of Social Work Education and Office of Civic Engagement and Service Learning.
“Through talking with the young people, I learned that many of them have never had a stable relationship in their lives,” said Segura, who seeks to provide that stability.
“I enjoy the MOSAIC project because not only am I able to serve as a support for the young people, but because they also serve as a support for me by keeping me true to my word in meeting my commitments to them,” Segura said.
MOSAIC brings opportunities that the youth wouldn’t otherwise have, said Dr. Mitzi Lowe, an associate professor in the Department of Social Work Education. Within the past year, Segura and approximately 17 other volunteers from the Department of Social Work Education and the Department of Criminology have been mentors to more than 100 youth and have completed more than 5,000 hours of service.
“A student’s presence gives hope to youth to become successful because many of our student mentors have overcome similar challenges in their lives,” said Lowe. “Without
the Fresno MOSAIC program these youth would not have access to caring adults who are there to listen to them, form positive relationships and assist them with developing a transitional plan back into the community,” she said.
“I have seen this program change lives, not only the lives of the youth offenders, but the students themselves,” said Lowe.
The Fresno State effort is important to the community, said Nancy Pressley, chief executive officer of Focus Forward, a new nonprofit agency that is one of several service organizations working with Fresno MOSAIC to serve youth in the juvenile justice
“The population at the Juvenile Justice Campus on any given day exceeds 300 youth,” she said. “The broad-based community involvement provides assurance that the services for the youth can continue in the community to provide greater opportunity for success.”
For more information about Fresno MOSAIC, call Brandie Campbell at 559.278.7940 or 559.994.3189.