Eddie Pérez Ruberté did the math. He has about 168 hours a week, and he’s awake for about 112 of them.
Much of this time is spent as a health systems engineering analyst at Mayo Clinic, but for a little over 1 hour each week Ruberté has found time to make a difference for a lifetime for two Duval County middle-school students.
In a city rife with opportunity for young professionals, Ruberté was first introduced to the philanthropic and volunteerism community through his workplace.
He joined Atlantic Circle, United Way’s affinity group for young professionals, and he was soon encouraged to become a Stein Fellow. The Stein Fellowship is a program that connects young professionals with established mentors in the Jacksonville area.
“The Stein Fellowship promotes philanthropy and community leadership, and inspires students to achieve,” Ruberté said of the program, which asks that all participants commit to mentoring a student in the Achievers For Life program.
“I originally started with one mentee and met with him once a week after school, as part of the Team Up afterschool program.”
Part way through the year, however, Ruberté’s mentee presented him with a heartwarming request.
“My original mentee asked me to [mentor another student] because ‘he is his best friend.’”
“I thought, ‘He only has me for this small amount of time, and he is being completely unselfish. He is willing to share that time with his best friend who needs and wants a mentor, too,” Ruberté said.
Ruberté and the other Stein Fellows represent an important emerging group of young professionals who see philanthropy and volunteerism as an integral part of beginning a career in the northeast Florida community.
“They are both great kids at Arlington Middle School. We had a great time, and I am very proud of their accomplishments. They both ended with great grades. They may both get [Honor Roll].”
Ruberté’s pride in these students, who receive the support to complete their education through mentoring, is a reflection of his pride for our community.
As an immigrant and the child of educators, Ruberté has experienced the value of a quality education.
“If there is one thing [my parents] always agreed on, it was that nobody can take your education away from you.”
His commitment and that of other Stein Fellows works to change the outcome for students who, at just 11-years-old, are showing indicators for potentially dropping out of school.[hr]