As the mother of a diabetic son, Louise Penta took notice when she met eighth grader Alejandro “Alex” Arreguin a few years ago. Penta, a mentor in The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children program and a TIF board member, was attending a Take Stock in Children induction ceremony and sat at a table with Arreguin and his family. She was chatting with Arreguin’s mother when she handed him an insulin pen. His mother
explained that he had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
It was then that Penta knew fate had stepped in, as her own son was a
diabetic and had been for many years. When it came time to
match Arreguin with a mentor, Penta volunteered, believing that
she could be a great asset with her knowledge and experience of
the disease. She was correct. Arreguin credits her for not only helping
him academically, but also emotionally and personally. “She’s helped me with everything,” Arreguin said. “She’s like a second mom. She guides and encourages me, and helps me if I’m struggling.”
Penta has been named “Mentor of the Year” for the state of Florida by the Take Stock in Children program. She’s been Arreguin’s mentor since he was in eighth grade. TIF staff members and Arreguin nominated Penta for the prestigious honor.