#394 be a mentor to one or more students

16 Oct

What exactly is a mentor? A mentor is a listener, a leader, a role-model, a friend, a supporter. A mentor can be anyone, including you. A mentee can be any age.

I am on the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) team at my school. AVID is a great program that really reaches out to the “middle” students…those who have the knowledge but need help with the skills to be really successful students and graduate and attend college. Within AVID we have an amazing program known as AAMI- African-American Male initiative- which is an AVID program focusing solely on African-American males( henceforth abbreviated AAM). AAM have the highest drop-out rates and the lowest graduation rates. More AAM are in jail than in college (as in complete 4 years of college). We were selected as one of seven schools to pilot the program and it has been a great success.

Anyway, we decided to ment0r all the AVID students this year and not just the AAMI boys (like last year). Unfortunately, the turn-out was not as high as we had hoped/expected. We had about 100 students (9th and 10th graders) that needed mentors and we are still about 12 mentors short…and that is with most mentors taking two students! Not to be deterred, I brainstormed with two other team members and we are reaching out to an individual group of teachers whom we feel would be good mentors. So, in addition to my students, and my caseload list, I am now the proud official mentor of two 10th grade boys who are in the AAMI program.

I am super excited to be a mentor and I am thankful for everyone who mentors a student somewhere! I really feel this a good opportunity for adults/young adults to get involved with their communities. If you are reading this and mentoring seems like a good idea, I suggest reaching out to your local school or a local boys and girls club. As teachers we can only do so much..and if a student knows there is another adult out there who can act as a legit role model, it will make all the difference.

I’ve been engaging in conversations the past few days with my friends about education and how the problem can be solved. Believe me, the teachers definetly play a role, but also the PARENTS, the COMMUNITY, and SOCIETY. If education is not valued and reinforced once the student leaves school, it’s not a good situation. Teaching high school is heart-breaking because sometimes you have parents who have honestly given up on their children being successful in school (and life)…and I have had parents verbalize this to me. These situations is where a mentor could really make a strong impact. Kids may put on a hard exterior, but it’s just a cry for help. So please, don’t give up on kids and if you can, get involved! It will not only make a difference for the student, but for you too.  Check out this great website about how to get involved and why it is important to get involved! http://www.mentoring.org/  Until next time…

“Every kid needs a mentor. Everybody needs a mentor. “
-Donovan Bailey


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