It finally hit me when I was sitting in one of my masters classes that was about teaching students in poverty. We had a visitor from the Drop Out Prevention Center and he discussed how Drop Out Interventions needed to take place in the elementary school because by the time the kids reached middle and high school, their mind was made up about dropping out. I decided it was time to seriously take action. I had such amazing students and I could not imagine any of them dropping out! Well after a year of talking about it, I finally took some action!
I was involved in my sorority in college and knew that Greek Life would be a great place to start. Greek Life revolves around community service and philanthropies so I knew I could find some great role models for the kids there. I sent an e-mail to the leader of Greek Life and he forwarded my e-mail to each chapter president. The president then sent it out to their entire organizations. Pretty soon I was FLOODED with e-mails about college kids that were really interested. I knew it was time to start planning away!
I got some resources from the Drop Out Center about effective mentoring programs and created a training workshop to prepare these college students about how to effectively make a difference in the kids lives! Well, I set the time and place and notified everyone that was interested. My assistant principal (who is by far one of the greatest people I know and one of the most encouraging people I have ever met...not to mention she is HILARIOUS!) and I stayed after school and welcomed all the future mentors. I was absolutely stunned at this point...over 40 college students arrived!! I could not believe my eyes! All the willing college students wanted to help our kids! So I told them why they were important, why we needed them and then we went over scenarios about what to expect!
These mentors came once a week for an hour and let me tell you, THEY SHOWED UP! They talked to them about how to handle situations positively, they helped them with their school work and were a steady role model in their life! They loved it so much they told their friends about it and I had to train about 20 more mentors. That's 60 mentors total! Even one of our guy mentors (who was in Nick's fraternity!! =) mentored 2 guys and stayed for 2 hours each week! I would secretly tear up in the hallway walking with my kiddos to activity or lunch when I would see the mentors working with their mentees! The program was so successful and our kids grades and reading levels increased! It's amazing what one hour of one-on-one attention can do!
So, to help celebrate the end of the year we had a big ol' celebration in our beautiful memory garden! We had a "Spring Fling!" and made dirt sundaes! The college kids told me they couldn't wait to come back next year and work with the same little nugget!!!
|Flower Pens and "Kisses" for our sweet, DEDICATED mentors!|
|Sign that all the students signed for their mentors!|
|I could not have done this without my biggest support system!|
|Enjoying our dirt sundaes!|
|We just HAD to Wobble!|
I am working on putting the mentor resources I used together in a unit so that you can use it, too! Have a great day!!