Mission of Familias Mentorship Program

The Familias Mentorship Program is aimed at helping students find community through mentorship that will help them navigate the demands of academic, social, and cultural life here at the University of Pennsylvania. We hope that Familias can be a space where students can bring their full selves and explore how their Latinidad intersects with their other identities. We hope that through participation in the Familias Mentorship Program, our students will be able to develop the skills that they need to be transformative and impactful leaders at and beyond the University of Pennsylvania.

Familias: La Casa Latina’s Mentorship Program aims to:

  • Build positive mentor-mentee relationships
  • Offer multiple services and levels of participation
  • Cultivate culturally appropriate learning
  • Create extraordinary opportunities for student success
  • Develop and strengthen a sense of Latinx identity

Each Familia will consist of:

  • incoming student (mentee)*
  • current undergraduate student (mentee)*
  • graduate student (mentor)*
  • alumni (mentor)*

*We encourage you all to not be rigid when considering who is a “mentor” and “mentee”. In some Familias, we have seen seniors take on a dual role of mentor/mentee as they provide guidance and support to incoming students while reaching out to the alum in their Familia for career advice. Incoming students too, have taken on a leadership role within their Familia and have taught older members new skills and ideas.

We are now accepting applications for the 2020-2021 academic year.


 Mentor (Grad Students and Alumni) Application 

 Mentee (Undergraduate) Application 


1. Who can apply to join Familias Mentorship Program?

Latinx alumni, graduate, and undergraduate students that have attended or will attend the University of Pennsylvania are encouraged to join Familias! We want individuals who are eager to be connected to other members of the Penn Latinx community in order to ensure the success and development of all Penn Latinx leaders.

2. Do I have to re-apply to join Familias

Yes. Each Familia partnership lasts for the academic school year. We ask that everyone fill out a new Familias Mentorship application during the summer so that we can partner you with a new incoming student (s) and best match people’s evolving needs.

3. What are the expectations for those that participate in Familias?

The main expectation for all participants of Familias are that you communicate with every member of your Familia at least once a month. Especially at this time, most members are not able to meet in person,so it is very important that you reach out via social media, phone call, or Skype to maintain active communication. In the past, Familias have used GroupMe, group texts, Facetime, and Facebook chat to stay in touch.

Additionally, each member is expected to fill out a short monthly survey letting us know how the program is supporting their growth, as well as changes that can be made to improve student outcomes.

Lastly, all mentors are encouraged to participate in monthly GBMs, Cafe con Leche dialogues, if possible!

4. What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a structured and trusting relationship between mentors and mentees. Familias mentors often provide constructive role-modeling, encouragement, and positive reinforcement to help their mentees accomplish the goals that they have expressed. A mentor can act as an advisor, a guide, a sounding board, and a resource.

5. What can those that are starting out at Penn hope to get out of Familias?

We hope that by joining Familias whether you are a first year undergraduate student or just starting out in a professional program at Penn, you feel like you can connect and contribute to the Latinx community at Penn. Through the support of the members of your Familia as well as programming, we hope you build leadership skills, increase academic confidence, connect with professional opportunities, and empower others to succeed.

6. How are Familias partnerships made?

Every year, everyone is asked to fill out a new Familias intake survey. The survey asks questions around interests, identity, and goals, and tries to match up Familia members as closely as possible.

7. Why is mentorship important for the success of Latinx students?

More Latinx students than ever before are enrolling into four year institutions.According to the U.S. Department of Education, 54% of Latinx students in the United States have completed a bachelor’s degree within six years, compared to 46% of Latinxs in 2002. However, there is still substantial disparity in the educational and professional experiences of Latinx students. This is where your support as a Familias Mentor plays a huge role in promoting the success of Latinx students at Penn and beyond. Mentorship through the authentic relationships that Familias has already helped foster has been shown to “nurture the cultural capital (knowledge, skills, and assets) and social capital (relationships built on trust) that students bring with them to college. By acknowledging the capital that students bring to college, these mentors built a bridge between them and their students..” (Luedke 2017).

8. What are the benefits of being a mentee?

Being a mentee in Familias helps students connect and contribute to the campus and alumni community, develop leadership skills, empower others to succeed, improve communication skills, increase academic confidence, and network with faculty, staff, graduate students, and alumni.

9. What are the benefits of being a mentor?

Being a mentor in Familias helps graduate students and alumni connect and contribute to the life of current Latinx students, empower others to succeed, network with other Penn Latinx leaders, and strengthen the next generation of Latinx leaders.

Previous Events

If you are interested in obtaining more information and/or participating in the Familias Mentorship Porgam

please contact La Casa Latina Associate Director Kareli Lizarraga at kareli@upenn.edu