Ten students from Texas A&M University-San Antonio participated in a multimedia-mentor program that produced a student-driven community publication published in the spring of 2023.
The founder of Hope Faith & Dreams, Armando Camina Jr., and Southwest Preparatory School teamed up and formed the Kaleidoscope of ARTS project in September 2022.
The project, which also included a student from the University of Texas at San Antonio, involved a three-week multimedia mentorship where each student was paired with a San Antonio community leader. The project was community driven and about giving leaders to advise mentees and give them the possibility to become a leader. It also gave college students the opportunity to connect with someone successful in the community and learn from their success.
“‘San Antonio Inspires’ embodies everything that we want to accomplish,” Camina said of the publication. “It has the artistic vision, the writing vision. It has community leaders sharing wisdom, real world education about growing and being successful in today’s society.”
Camina created Hope Faith & Dreams in 2002 in Corpus Christi for the purpose of working with youth through education and the arts.
“Promoting imagination and creativity, writing and public speaking. All the things that are important to a person to grow in this society especially now when communication is very important,” Camina said. “That’s why we created the organization to enhance communication imagination collaboration partnership with some gratitude.”
The Kaleidoscope of ARTS project and producing San Antonio Inspires is what Camina and his organization is all about, helping the community learn from their mentors and being able to grow.
High school students who got to record, film and edit also got the chance to learn. Camina had Southwest Preparatory School’s Media Education & Design Academy, Alamo Arts Academy and Alphagraphics Marketing to produce and showcase the project, a video going with the publication.
The university students got to learn from the mentors and write a story about their experience and what they learned from their mentor, producing nine inspirational stories.
A junior at A&M-San Antonio double majoring in communications and English, Nate Hernandez, took part in the mentorship.
Hernandez was partnered up with Cleto Rodriguez, a national touring comedian, and went through the three-week mentorship.
“They partnered me up with Cleto,” Hernandez said. “I had three interviews online with him and we got to talk, get to know each other and I got to ask him questions. All those questions I asked, I got to learn his responses and his answers.”
Hernandez also conducted a live video interview with the comedian.
“I got to learn everything about what it is that made him successful, what he does, his likes and dislikes, his passions, and it was honestly really inspiring,” Hernandez said. “I didn’t realize I was going to get a lot from that. And it wasn’t just the interview that made an impact, it was the confidence he gave me. He gave me a lot of confidence to go strive out and do things.”
Hernandez was instrumental in putting the publication together with doing the book design and layout. A student majoring in fine arts from UTSA, Oliver Lyric, served as the concept art illustrator.
“I think that portion gave me the opportunity because it really suited me up for success. It really pushed me to understand and keep that drive going to see what else is out there for me,” Hernandez said.
The students were able to learn from a successful leader in the community and do new things like on-camera contributions. The students who got their stories published are now considered published authors.
Camina gave thanks to the former president of A&M-San Antonio, Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson for making the project possible.
“I owe a lot of this, the birth of the publication, I owe it to your former president Dr. Cynthia Matson. I sent her a description of what we wanted to do, a proposal, and to be honest with you, I didn’t really expect her to write me back.
“I mean, I was thinking that she might, I was hoping that she would, but you know she’s a president, and you never know how that’s going to go. She returned my email within an hour after sending it, which really blew my mind, and she was interested in helping with this. Not only did she help us recruit the students, but she also became a mentor in our program.”