Students with disabilities learn about new careers in Mentoring Day


Courtesy of Aurora Segura

Brian Gutierrez, a sociology major, expresses his experience at Los Angeles City Hall. Next to him are his mentors, Mark Sakata, a counselor at Pasadena City College, and Adriana Miranda, DMD coordinator.

Gustavo Lopez, News Editor

“Mentoring Day was amazing. It’s incredible how every single person with a disability, regardless of (the) disability, can get mentored,” Brian Gutierrez, a sociology major, said about Disability Mentoring Day, which took place at Los Angeles City Hall last Wednesday.

Disability Mentoring Day is a nationwide and international event in which people with disabilities can learn about different careers by having a mentor for the day, according to Adriana Miranda, DMD coordinator.

The event takes place every October for Disabilities Awareness Month.

During Mentoring Day, students get to choose someone in a career they are interested in, who is in the field and may also have a disability.

“We are bridging the gap,” Miranda said. “Many people don’t get close to people with disabilities; not because they don’t want to, because they’re afraid of not saying the right things or of saying the wrong things or behaving in a way that might offend the person, so it’s just lack of knowledge.

According to Miranda, this year’s DMD featured an addition of the fire department and the private sector.

The event started off with a breakfast and a welcoming ceremony to all the participants of Disability Mentoring Day.

Cerritos College had the highest number of students attending, with 20.

Among them was Martha and Antonio Lamadrid, a couple in adult education.

“I like how they (DMD mentors) made us feel welcome and not isolated. That gives us the chance to feel more motivated to keep learning,” Martha said, who is working on her AA degree in psychology.

Antonio’s favorite part of the day was riding on the tarmac at LAX. “It was an unforgettable experience, extremely creative and the people treated us like we were VIPs.

“It’s admirable that these people help people like us who are disabled, and there’s no way I can thank them for that.”

The day came to a close with a dinner for the attendees of Mentoring Day, as well as a speech by Miranda, and the awarding of the Olivia Mitchell Award for Excellence to its rightful namesake: Olivia Mitchell.

Aurora Segura, DSPS counselor, said, “I think the event went great, I think the majority of the students really enjoyed it. They always (do), even if it’s not their exact match, they’re always happy they learned something from the experience.”