Our Strategy

The key to our strategy is found in our purposeful and strategic effort in support of those who truly want to change their life and impact the world around them…

Every individual has the opportunity to rise up in their life and make their dreams come true. Our strategy begins with identifying individuals who are ready for change, ready for a challenge, and ready to be courageous.Believe in others more than they believe in themselves.

PowerMentor does not see people as victims of circumstance, but instead, believes that because of life experiences, no matter how challenging, provides the passion to overcome and become a change agent in the world. The individuals that have transformed their lives began with nothing but tragic circumstances, yet, through believing in them, more than they believed in themselves, they were able to begin a journey that resulted in amazing results.

The stories of individuals impacted by PowerMentor are absolutely amazing! Individuals that few believed in, would completely change their lives through support of mentors MODELING positive behavior, CONNECTING passionately with them, and a strong commitment to INVOLVE them with purpose in projects that allowed them to recognize their God given potential.

What We Believe

PowerMentor believes very strongly that everyone has a specific God given purpose to fulfill in their lives. We look for the good in our mentees and help them overcome their challenges.

To mentor others, is to influence them causing a specific affect. We all have so much influence on those around us.  Most of us never recognize that we can strategically direct our influence for the greatest possible impact in the lives of others.Most of us never recognize that we can strategically direct our influence for the greatest possible impact in the lives of others When we journey into mentorship, we must understand that every little action or decision we make will have some sort of an affect on ourselves and those around us. For this reason, we must be very purposeful in our mentoring relationship.

The term “PowerMentor” is what we call our unique strategy designed to engage individuals in personal and professional development designed to fully immerse them into an experience that fosters an environment by which the individual can identify and maximize their full potential. This strategy was developed by former Police Officer and Founder, Dr. Kevin LaChapelle.

The effectiveness in our strategy is not based on the mentors themselves, but rather the intentional, strategic, and proactive tactics deployed to engage individuals that are not operating optimally or at their potential capacity. The success stories abound from extreme cases to incremental changes. For example, we have high school dropouts that after intervention, returned to earn their GED, continued to complete a 4-year university, and many of which that have completed graduate school.

Our leadership framework is to model positive behavior, connect passionately with those we lead, and Involve them purposefully in real life projects. PowerMentor recognizes the authority, responsibility, and accountability within the context of leading those we serve.

Our Beginning

The story is a chronology beginning with former Police Officer Kevin LaChapelle who met Jose who worked at a local fast food restaurant in 1998. LaChapelle rolled through the drive-thru at a local Jack in the Box, and asked the drive-thru attendant Jose Orozco if he had planned to go to college. Orozco told LaChapelle he had dropped out of high school, and would pursue becoming a shift leader at the Jack in the Box for his future. LaChapelle asked Orozco what he dreamed of doing as a kid. Orozco said he had wanted to be an attorney. LaChapelle told Orozco he could return to school and go to college. Their friendship grew, and soon thereafter, Orozco earned his GED, and then enrolled in college.At the time, LaChapelle himself had never completed college. Orozco challenged LaChapelle that if he were to encourage others to pursue college, that he himself should set the example and do so himself. At the time, LaChapelle himself had never completed college. Orozco challenged LaChapelle that if he were to encourage others to pursue college, that he himself should set the example and do so himself. This motivated LaChapelle to begin pursuing his college education as well.

In 1999, LaChapelle and Orozco would found the non-profit PowerMentor organization. They continued in their quest to change lives, one person at a time through their mentorship strategy. The organization continued to grow and evolve resulting in incredible stories of a number of individuals overcoming great odds, transforming their lives from at-risk inner city youth, to college graduates. PowerMentor continues to thrive…

In 2005, while Orozco and LaChapelle were nearing the completion of their Bachelor’s Degree, they became acquainted with Agustin Peña who coincidentally had worked at another nearby Jack in the Box restaurant. LaChapelle and Orozco befriended Peña, encouraging him to go to college, and ultimately, Peña also decided to pursue a career as an attorney. He enrolled enrolled at San Diego City College. The trio walked alongside of each other throughout their pursuit of higher education. As Orozco and LaChapelle graduated with their Bachelors degree, Peña would be working toward completing his Associates degree. While Orozco pursued law school, LaChapelle completed  his Master’s program, and began his doctoral studies, and Peña transferred to San Diego State University to complete his Bachelor’s. After Orozco completed law school, LaChapelle continued pursuing his doctoral degree, and Peña began law school.

Throughout Orozco’s education, he was challenged because he was undocumented after having been brought to the United States when he was a baby by his parents seeking a better life. Orozco’s mother died of cancer when he was 8, and his father died of cancer when he was 12. Orozco had to fight hard to secure his Certificate of Citizenship, receiving it just prior to graduating SDSU. LaChapelle believes this significantly shaped Orozco’s desire to defend others.

In August 2007, while Peña was attending San Diego State University, his 14-year-old younger brother was gunned down by gang members who had mistaken him for someone they had a problem with. This was devastating to Peña and his family, yet, he continued on, fighting for justice while he sought to have the suspects found and prosecuted for the senseless killing of his little brother. It was during this time that Agustin Peña co-founded a local special project of PowerMentor in the City Heights neighborhood where his little brother was killed. Peña participated in several anti-violence rallies and became involved in his community as an anti-violence advocate. While attending law school, Peña would attend class while watching the surreal events of his brother’s murder unfold down the street in the courtroom. Peña endured two different trials of the suspects who were ultimately convicted while maintaining his legal studies. During law school, Peña would meet fellow law student Irving Pedroza. Irving would stand alongside Peña at such a critical time. Irving had a story of his own as well. As a young boy, his older brother suffered from schizophrenia causing Irving to endure adversity while growing up. It was amazing to see the loyalty, admiration, and respect that Irving exhibited toward Peña. I can only imagine the deep appreciation that Peña must have in his heart toward Irving. LaChapelle believes this event caused Peña to have a drive to advocate for victims as he experienced firsthand what it felt like to be victimized.

Orozco passed the California State Bar and then was hired by the County of San Diego as a Deputy Public Defender. A short time later, Peña passed the California State Bar and was hired by the County of San Diego as a Prosecuting Attorney. Irving passed the State Bar and currently practices with a San Diego law firm. Meanwhile, LaChapelle completed his Doctorate of Education in Leadership.

LaChapelle, Orozco, Jose Villaescuza, and Irving Pedroza continue to lead PowerMentor into the 21st century. Although Agustin has not been affiliated with PowerMentor since 2013, he continues to serve his community.

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United Nations NGO Civil Society Participation Program

As a result of PowerMentors impact around the globe, in 2015 PowerMentor registered with the United Nations NGO Civil Society Participation Program. We intend to submit our Consultative Status application for approval.

Internship Affiliation with National University

PowerMentor is proud to provide internship opportunities for graduate students of National University.

PowerMentor Recommended Reading  

PowerMentor is proud to provide our library of recommended books for personal and leadership development. Recommended Reading List

Our Team
Dr. Kevin LaChapelle

Founder/Executive Director

Jose Orozco, Esq.

Deputy Public Defender

Lalo Gunther, M.C.Ed.

Public Speaker

Irving Pedroza, Esq.

Attorney

Jose Villaescuza, Pastor

Pastor & Construction Operations Manager