For this edition of “Getting to Know Your Talbot County Leaders,” Healthy Talbot put its focus on Mentoring Month and interviewed newcomer Gerson Martinez. Check it out:
About Talbot Mentors: Talbot Mentors is a really special organization focused squarely on developing and supporting one-to-one mentoring relationships in Talbot County. We are committed to pairing young people who need positive, consistent role models in their lives with caring individuals who invest their time in the lives of their mentees.
Our efforts are unique in that we aim to establish long term, one-to-one relationships that yield real changes in the trajectory of our mentee’s futures through mentorship.
# of Employees: Myself included, we have six employees.
Length of time in position: I am a total newcomer, having taken on my position at the end of November, just about six weeks ago!
Schooling: I went to the University of Maryland, College Park for my undergraduate studies.
Pets: Yes, I have a Pomapoo (Poodle-Pomeranian) named Ramon.
Inspiration: Teachers inspire me. The people who day in and day out impart permanent, inalienable knowledge onto young people inspire me more than anything. I really believe that a sound education is the bedrock of a well-rounded citizen; so the people who teach us for a living are my actual heroes.
Separately, our community inspires me. Talbot County is such a special place for our disposition to work for the good of others, to collaborate, to give generously. Coming back to the Shore after eight years away, this has been one of the most inspiring and encouraging things to come home to.
Childhood Dream: I dreamed of living in New York City when I was a child. I had no idea what I wanted to do there, but I knew I wanted to live there.
Fun Fact About Yourself: I recently ran my first marathon in Chicago. I’ve definitely caught the distance running bug!
Favorite Hobby: Photography is by far my favorite hobby. I took it up a few years ago after receiving a nice camera as a gift, and was never able to put cameras down since.
Favorite Food:I love ribs, of any kind.
Fears: I’m most afraid of squandering my opportunity to teach my daughter to make an impact on the people who are less fortunate than she is.
Favorite Movie: My favorite movie by far is Top Gun. I could watch it every day (still).
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you: Fiji, before it disappears.
Pet Peeve: When my wife uses our savings account as checking account #2!
Is there a cause close to your heart? How do you help that cause? Equitable education! That is the most important social cause for me. I support organizations like my former Charter school who work tirelessly to prove that being disenfranchised does not have to equate to lower educational outcomes.
What was on your wish list this year and/or what was the worst gift you’ve ever received? I actually never keep a wish list. My wife always surprises me. I can’t remember the worst gift I’ve ever received, but I will tell you about the absolute best.
This year, for my birthday, my wife got me a 12oz cut of A5 Miyazaki Wagyu steak. I’m a huge steak lover, and this is a very rare cut. It is the absolute best! I enjoyed it thoroughly, and look forward to the next time I get to have one.
What do you hope your agency accomplishes over the next 5 years? I hope we accomplish the task of quantifiably changing the trajectory of our most vulnerable young people in Talbot County. Right now we support 98 mentees, with hundreds more candidates in our school system. In five years, I would like to know that we have grown to be able to support 700+ mentees in Talbot County.
What do you love about Talbot County? I love the Bay, our seafood, the generous nature of our citizens, and our colonial history.
What is the one thing your agency needs the most to succeed in its mission?In order to succeed in our mission we need buy-in from the community at large so that everyone can appreciate the value in becoming a mentor. We need a growing and reliable long-term funding base; and finally we need the best human resource capital that we can attract.
What do you think Talbot County needs most? Talbot County needs to evolve along with its residents. What I mean by that is that I believe we need to do everything we can to support and empower the next generation of women, minorities, and young men to rise to positions of leadership and influence in the community, in lock-step with the changing demographics of the county.
Talbot County now looks quite different from the Talbot County I grew up in. We are younger and more diverse that ever, and we have to capitalize on all of the social benefit that comes from empowering minority groups and young people to lead us into the future.
What’s on your bucket list? Running all six major world marathons (Chicago, Berlin, NYC, London, Tokyo, Boston).
Following this interview, you step outside and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do with the money?
#1 I would endow Talbot Mentors with the money it needs to operate into perpetuity with financial independence.