Champions of Change
Champion of Change
Carlos Mendonza

Carlos is a Senior Corps Member with City Year New York. Born in Nicaragua, Carlos and his family moved to the United States when he was 9 years old. Initially, it was very difficult for Carlos to adjust to the American lifestyle – for starters he did not speak English making it nearly impossible for him to stay ahead in school and make friends. His family also struggled to get by - his mother and stepfather each working two and three jobs at a time in order to make ends meet. Carlos feels very fortunate that in 10th grade, he had a social studies teacher named Mr. Mixon who took a special interest in him and took extra time with him and ultimately helped Carlos see his own potential and how to realize it. After that course ended, Mr. Mixon continued on as Carlos' mentor and helped him select courses, get involved in extracurricular activities and become informed about the college application process. Carlos attended Cornell University as a Gates Millennium Scholar and graduated two years ago with a degree in Economics. He feels especially connected to the students he serves because so many are, like himself, immigrants for whom English is not the first language and come from his same socioeconomic background.