Staff Spotlight: Patty Melgoza
Interviewed by Marynoelyn Jacob
Patty Melgoza is an Enrollment and Match Specialist (EMS) based out of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Bay Area Milpitas office. An all-around team player, Patty is friendly, dependable, and always willing to lend a helping hand. She's been with the agency for 11 years.
Share a memorable moment with BBBS:
It was in December, during my first few months with the agency, so it had to be one of my very first match meetings. I went to the Little’s house due to lack of transportation, where there were four kids in an one bedroom apartment. My grandmother had just passed away, and when I saw the Virgin Mary shrine in their home it was a sign for me. That family and their home reminded me a lot of my childhood. I could really see myself myself in their place. I was with that match for six-seven years. When the Little’s parents were deported and he had to go live with other family members, his Big was a huge support for him during that time.
What does your job entail?
My job entails interviewing families and Bigs, conducting background checks and references for volunteers and putting the actual matches together.
What's something most people don't know about you?
I didn’t know how to speak English until I was 8.
Who is someone you consider a mentor?
I’ve met several mentors. My high school counselor Mr. Ortega was the person that saw potential in me when I didn’t see it myself. He told me, “You’re going to go to college.” I had never met someone in my family that went to college. I was in this class that exposed me to the college experience, it was mainly for first generation students. We got to go to Santa Barbara, Cal Poly, and visited a bunch of colleges in California. I received a lot of attention in that class, and they pushed us to want more. I applied for scholarships, and learned that being in a room full of people that want you to succeed is so powerful. Dr. Espinoza and Mr. Regua at Evergreen Valley College are people I also looked up to -- people that looked like me who are highly educated, driven, and successful.
What led you to work for Big Brothers Big Sisters?
Prior to working here, I worked at a youth center for 8 years. I was (still am) very passionate about working with youth. It gives me a spark. Looking back at my mentors, they influenced a lot of my life. So it’s important for me to give back to the community and impact youth at a crucial age. Some of the kids I worked with at that old program didn’t have someone to motivate them, and I believe that this program would have benefited them.
What's something you wish more people knew about your job?
That it’s hard sometimes, and it’s challenging working with people who cancel, or just can’t commit to the program expectations.
What do you find most rewarding in your position?
The people connection: learning about other people’s experiences from all walks of life, it’s eye-opening, and I’m thankful for that. Making an impact, seeing everyone at the “Big [Gala] Event” and seeing the mentors give back and touching children’s lives.
What advice do you have for Bigs in our program?
First, make sure you have the time and can commit to our program. Second, be open-minded to working with people from different backgrounds because it’s a learning experience.
What's something you wish more people knew about this organization?
We’re in the South Bay, our office is in Milpitas, and that we really need male mentors.