In the world of our online auctions, there are always names that are familiar, names of unwavering supporters who have been with us through thick and thin. These are the names that warm our hearts to see. Yet, in 2021, a new name surfaced – one that was both new and strangely familiar.
Susie Gallo, our ED and our former program director, Tina Baldry, were intrigued by this name: Jeremy Swanton. Could it be, they wondered? Was Jeremy Swanton the same individual who had once been a part of our mentoring program, matched back in 1999 and who graduated in 2007?
Curiosity led them to reach out to Jeremy, and what transpired was a heartwarming conversation that confirmed their suspicions. Jeremy was indeed an alumnus of our program, and he fondly recollected his journey alongside his mentor. From the time he was a fifth-grader at El Verano until his high school graduation at Sonoma Valley High School, Jeremy’s mentor had been his steadfast companion, leaving an unforgettable mark on his life. Jeremy reminisced about the experiences that the mentoring program had offered him. Trips to the beach, baseball games, cooking classes, bingo nights, and mini-golf tournaments – all these activities had enriched his life. And as life unfolded, Jeremy felt an urge to give back, to ensure that other youth could benefit from the same opportunities.
During our online auction, Jeremy emerged as a bidder. But his commitment extended beyond the bidding. Determined to make a lasting impact, he underwrote the cost of taking other mentors and mentees to a Giants game, a magical experience for those kids who had never attended a professional sporting event. He also sponsored a day at the Sonoma Ropes Course.
Jeremy recently got married and he and his wife, Felicia decided to ask for donation to the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance in place of traditional gifts. We stand in awe of Jeremy’s journey, a story that began with a young boy benefiting from the mentorship of our program and blossomed into a man making a substantial difference in the lives of others. It’s a reminder that the impact of mentoring often takes time to reveal itself fully.
Today, we honor not only the child Jeremy was but also celebrate the remarkable man he has become.
Thank you, Jeremy!