Empowering Youth Through Education

Q&A - Fulfillment Fund Mentor Frank Hsu

Meet Fulfillment Fund Mentor Frank Hsu, who was matched with his student, Noah, in 2012. Frank is an Associate with The Yucaipa Companies and a member of the Fulfillment Fund Leadership Council, where he serves on the Mentoring and Student Support Committee.

Describe why you decided to mentor and how you chose the Fulfillment Fund.

I was interested in becoming involved in the community.  I have always been a firm believer that education is crucial to kids as they grow up.  I felt by being a mentor I could most directly impact a student’s life.  The importance of support and guidance from an adult can never be understated during each student’s formative years. 

What are some of the unexpected pleasures of being a mentor?  How is it different from what you thought it would be?

To be honest, I was not sure what quite to expect.  The aspect that truly surprised me was how simple and effortless it was to be a mentor.  I believe the Fulfillment Fund does a great job in selecting students with great character and motivation.  Over time, hanging out with my student has become very effortless.  I am able to integrate him with my friends and take him to sporting events and concerts when possible.  Most importantly, I believe the kids selected are also very mature and at times I forget I am hanging out with a student in high school. 

Why is mentoring important? What are some of the challenges you see your student facing growing up in Los Angeles today?

I believe as kids grow up they look for guidance and support more than anything else.  At times, it is easy to look for support and guidance from the wrong areas or people.  Mentoring is a direct avenue to impact a student’s life.  It is from the experiences and activities we do with the students that allow them a greater view of society and the world around them.  As a kid growing up in Los Angeles or any big city, there are challenges and pitfalls that kids encounter every day.  The mentor program allows the student to develop a unique bond with the mentor to guide and support students as they figure out the world as they see fit.    

How has your experience as a mentor played into your experience as a Leadership Council member?

As a mentor and as a member of the Leadership Council, I am provided a holistic view of the Fulfillment Fund.  The opportunity to interact with the individuals that work for the Fund lets you see the time and dedication they have towards the students.  In addition to the staff, I have met great individuals on the Council. 

It seems like they are asking for a big commitment of 2-5 years. What made you willing to devote so much of your time?

Nowadays it is pretty easy to become involved in the community.  However, I wanted to be involved with a program that required more of a commitment from its participants.  From talking with the Fulfillment Fund, I was impressed with how well organized and well run it was.  It was easy to dedicate myself to a cause when the people behind the scenes were working hard to support it themselves.  Also, from hearing experiences of other mentors and the bond they were able to develop with their student made a lasting impression on me. 

What would you say to someone who is considering becoming a Mentor?

Mentoring will definitely be a great experience.   It is not only a great way to give back to the community but also the most impactful and direct way to support a student.  Most importantly, at the end of the day, mentoring is a fun and rewarding experience.  Each person that becomes a mentor will undoubtedly learn about him/herself and grow with the student at the same time.  In the last year and a half we have done so many activities – football games, basketball games, the beach, laser tag, movies, etc.  Or to put it another way, all the things you wanted to do but couldn’t because you have grown up now are all possible with a new sidekick. 

How has the Fulfillment Fund supported you along the way?  Why should people support the Fulfillment Fund?

It has always been nice to know that I am not alone in mentoring my student.  I know that whatever issues may arise or if I need someone to talk to, I can turn to the Fulfillment Fund.  As much as it is there to support the students, mentors can just as easily reach out and ask for advice if necessary.  I believe the Fulfillment Fund is a great cause and support for the organization is a direct support for students everywhere.