Since graduating from Frostburg State University, brother Chris Gonzalez ’00 has prided himself on giving back and doing his part in setting the youth up for the future based on his experiences.
As an active SAE, he was a part of the Big Brothers of America, but he’s always been someone who loves interacting with kids providing a positive environment.
Today, Gonzalez is a successful entrepreneur who founded A-G Associates in 2008. In 2017, his business received the Bridging the Gap Achievement Award by the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Future 50 Business Leaders Award by Smart CEO Magazine.
But he does more within his community.
The Maryland Delta alumnus supports the youth in Baltimore with the Mentoring Mentors program.
The Mentoring Mentors are a non-profit volunteer program for middle and high school students who support younger peers through long-term relationships, socio-emotional support, and networking for potential career opportunities.
Gonzalez is the Mentoring Mentors Board of Directors Chair. What’s unique is his brothers from Maryland Delta lead him to this role.
The Executive Director of Mentoring Mentors, Alphonso Mayo, coached football with Gonzalez under head coach and SAE Eric Woodson ’93. Mayo and Gonzalez helped coach the Northwestern and Glen Burnie High School football teams with Woodson in the past between 2012-2014. That relationship led to volunteering with Mentoring Mentors and eventually his role as the Board Chair in 2019.
Gonzalez credits staying involved with the Maryland Delta brothers with social media.
“A lot of what we do is high-level stuff in terms of promoting fundraising efforts, developing partnerships, and finding more board members and key relationships and just expanding the network for the organization,” Gonzalez said.
Other Maryland Delta alums who work volunteer with Mentoring Mentors or contribute include Adam Fitzpatrick ’00, Nick Williams ’08, Matt Becker ’04, Randy Belt ’04, Ray Hamilton ’14, and Terrence Myers ’06.
Belt and Myers are both on the Board of Directors.
Myers is a Project Manager for Crown Castle, managing projects within the real estate development and telecommunications industry.
Belt, a former football player and track & field athlete at Frostburg State, is a Lead Engineer in the Education sector at Proquest, LLC.
“There’s been a ton of brothers from the Maryland Delta chapter that have been big contributors and it’s pretty cool,” Gonzalez said. “I find it to be great because I can combine both my worlds.”
“It’s pretty cool when you know some of these guys and you need something from them and they’re like, Alright, I’ll do it”.
Gonzalez, a former United States Marine, was actually in the reserves while a student at Frostburg State. In 2003, he was sent to Iraq with the infantry and returned to become an 8th-grade social studies teacher.
Teaching the youth lead to his passion for Mentoring Mentors today.
“I enjoyed working with the knuckleheads. I was kind of a knucklehead myself,” Gonzalez said. “So I related, even at 42 I still feel like I relate to kids. These young guys are just trying to act tough and try to impress girls and all that, I get it. I was in your shoes once.”
Gonzalez left the Marines, then rejoined again in 2010. In 2011, he went to Afghanistan, where he was focused on community engagement looking at stability as a whole. Once he returned to the states, Gonzalez took an interest in philanthropy for veterans. Through the years after his return, he realized there’s a lot of work to be done in the Baltimore community, where he’d been a part of for 20 years.
“What I always found amazing about the Marine Corps, is you would have these dudes who would never be friends if it weren’t for the Marines,” Gonzalez said. “You have a dude from the inner city, a dude from the backwoods, a dude from the trailer park, a dude from a rich neighborhood, a guy who migrated from Mexico, ya know, you have all these dudes who are all thrown together and nobody cares. Everyone gets along, they don’t focus on differences, they just focus on being a Marine and that’s what bonds them. The fact that it’s such a strong support system is what puts them in a position to be successful.”
With Mentoring Mentors, Gonzalez compares his bond within the Marines and tries to channel it within the program.
“My interest with Mentoring Mentors is to help young men and young women build a support system,” he said. “Going to help develop drive, develop confidence, develop successful habits, and then help grow their network. You see my network is partially within my fraternity and partially in the military. My network is strong because of some of those different groups.”
“We’re creating a cycle of positive behavior. Everyone is so focused on what the problem is, no one ever focuses on what things actually work.”
Gonzalez said his chapter at Frostburg State was very diverse of all different backgrounds and is why he is trying to send a positive message to the youth still today.
“Just getting out of these stupid socio-economic bubbles that the media tells you to care about. Trying to connect people of different backgrounds because I think that’s how we’re better off.”
If you live in the Baltimore area and are interested in getting involved with the Mentoring Mentors, visit Mentoring Mentors’ website where there’s more information.