“Where’s Mr. Adonis?” the students of our Power to Parent class at People for People Charter School ask on any given Thursday evening as the clock draws closer to 6:00. There are actually a few different answers to that question, but Adonis Banegas always makes it to class with just enough time to write the objective on the board and even ask the students how their week is coming along before class starts. He’s got his dry erase marker and his worn curriculum book but more importantly he’s brought real life experiences to the classroom that result in the type of growth that can happen within a student when your facilitator “gets” you.
Since becoming connected with ECP almost 6 years ago as a part-time facilitator, Adonis has had a lasting relationship with ECP that has proven to be beneficial to all involved. He’s facilitated at several different sites including South Philly High School, Nueva Esperanza, Northern Homes and the Power to Parent Open Site at People for People Charter School. Adonis reveals that seeing the students grow is what motivates him most in the classroom:
“I enjoy having the opportunity to talk to this young group, giving them guidance, suggestions and tools they can use to improve themselves as parents and young adults. It’s great to be able to see them at a different cycle later on down the line. Students often show us that they’ve implemented some of the skills they’ve learned from us or at least are attempting some of the things (taught in class) whether they’re successful or not. You can really see how they’ve evolved from how they first came into the class.”
In addition to sharing custody of his two daughters, ages 6 and 11 and facilitating part-time for ECP, Adonis is also Program Director for the Hispanic Family Center in Camden New Jersey. With a day that starts at 6 AM and often doesn’t end until 8 or 9 PM, he’s an example to many of the parents we serve of the amount of effort it takes to balance both work and family:
“I wake up really early and end my day really late. But if you’re doing something you enjoy, you really don’t look at the time. My days fly by although I do miss lunch a lot, but I enjoy what I do with my full-time job, facilitating for ECP and of course being a parent.”
Adonis also reveals that many of the skills he uses in both his full and part time positions transfer well in helping him to be a better professional overall:
“There’s a lot of similarities between how to run a program or operate a classroom. Being able to facilitate for so many years and learning how to address students, you use those same techniques when talking to agency heads across the city and state.”