Building a community for a lifetime
For years, an SOS mentor program graduation was a bittersweet experience. We were so proud to see how much these teens had grown and excited for what was ahead for them, but it was hard to officially close the match. While we kept in touch with our alumni as best as we could over the years, we decided we had to formalize a way to stay connected with our alumni and continue providing growth opportunities. In 2019, we secured a three-year, Americorps award and recruited our first program graduate into the role of alumni liaison to launch the program.
This role was responsible for alumni communications, resource sharing and events to foster a sense of community event after the program stopped. Having this established role in the organization ensured that our participants and graduates were constantly at the forefront of strategic decisions. Additionally, we made it a goal to integrate alumni into our programs as much as possible, because who could be better to help deliver our programs than those who have experienced them first hand? Now, we have two alumni on our Board of Directors and 48 staying engaged in our program delivery as volunteers, mentors or staff. Outside of that we have numerous alumni who keep in touch and join us for events when they are available.
Our Americorps award recently expired, but we knew that we could not do away with this integral role after all the progress we’ve made over the past three years. We are excited to share that Eagle County program graduate, Fernanda Landeros, is officially an SOS employee in the role of alumni liaison. Fernanda has been critical in growing the national efforts around this program, sharing stories, references, and implementing innovative ideas that come directly from our alumni. She has been spearheading efforts to compile and disseminate scholarship opportunities while also offering support throughout the application process.
Fernanda was an SOS participant for eight years, starting her SOS journey in the introductory program at Beaver Creek in 2013. She then went on to join the mentor program for 5 years and eventually a junior mentor for her last two years of high school. Now, she has taken the opportunity to work with us to help expand the alumni network and create a positive impact to alumni like her.
“As an SOS alum, it is an honor to be advancing this initiative and connecting with other alumni to hear what we can do to be a continued support system. It is so great to see how many alumni want to stay engaged in the organization in any way they can and I know it’s so inspiring for our current participants to connect with alumni. It’s amazing to see these stories come full circle.”
Thank you to our partners who supported the development of this program including AmeriCorps, Up2Us Sports, evo, Smartwool, the VF Corporation.