Meet Our Mentors: Fred Dalzell

Meet Fred Dalzell. Fred is a writer, a consultant, a professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and was also one the first members of our community. For as long as BUILD has been in Boston, Fred has been with the program.

“I joined BUILD initially because I was more curious than anything else.” Fred said, speaking to the first interest he had in the program and the obligation he felt to learn more about the young people of his community. “I’ve lived in Boston for many years and I realized I’d never set foot into Boston Public Schools. I was also very conscious about not having met people from different communities in the city. I was very interested in poking around and meeting new people.”

For Fred, the mentorship experience has been one that has been unexpected and one that has provided a variety of interesting lessons. In particular, Fred notes the perspectives he’s gained in working with young people and how that applies to his work as a teacher and someone who engages with clients as a profession.

“I went in assuming that it was going to be something I did for other people. I really feel as though it’s done more for me instead.” he said. “I have been reminded not to take people for granted and not to make assumptions about people. I have been reminded also the extraordinary energy and possibility that young people have. I have learned to be patient and to go with the situation.”

Fred believes that in his years as mentoring, one of the best things that the experience has to offer is the opportunity to broaden your horizons, go beyond your comfort zone, and how that creates meaningful connections.

“I think the best thing about a mentor is the opportunity it gives you to get to know people that you wouldn’t otherwise get to know. And get to know them in a way where you get to collaborate with them, get to really work with them, especially young people, on their own projects. That’s really exciting. It’s not bringing something you have to them, it’s drawing something out of them.” he said.

To those who are considering becoming mentors, Fred has just one piece of advice to offer:

“You definitely have something to offer these young people and I think BUILD has something to offer you too.”

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