“There’s often an idea that students aren’t ready. They’re not ready for internships, ready for mentors, ready to go outside in the world. But what I’ve seen in the past, from my own experience, and MentorU bears out, is that students will rise to the expectation, rise to the occasion.”
– Garth Reeves, Co-Principal, West Seattle High School
At first glance, the wood-paneled gymnasium with round tables setup across the floor and pizza boxes stacked in one corner looks like any other high school study hall across the country. But a closer look brings the pairs of high school students and adult professionals into clear view. The duos flip through school books, examine portfolios of work built over the past year, and chat excitedly over slices of cheese and pepperoni.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound wanted to expand their already established youth mentoring program into the high school space in order to help more at-risk students graduate from high school, go to college, and become positive members of today’s competitive and growing workforce. They partnered with West Seattle High School to create MentorU, a program that pairs classroom learning with a mentoring program between 9th and 10th graders and professionals within the community.
This program is meant to help students navigate the challenges of high school, both academic and personal. Big Brothers Big Sisters already produces amazing results with their dedication to youth mentoring. In fact, 72% of their mentees enrolled in college, compared to 55% of their non-participating peers. This program is determined to be no exception. Employees from the likes of Starbucks, Facebook, Hulu, PMI, and more participate to provide mentees role models for personal growth and professional skill building. Mentors engage students in planning for the future.
In order to create, manage, and run an impactful program, Big Brothers Big Sisters partnered with Chronus to assist in matching mentors and mentees, and provide students a way to communicate by which they were very acquainted — via mobile apps. Enlisting the collaboration of Chronus mentoring software, Big Brothers Big Sisters has created an impactful mentoring program with the capacity for even more productive success.
The final session of MentorU is a result of nine months of hard work. Freshmen mentees have gotten to know their community mentor counterparts, worked through challenges, and taken action to improve their college and career prospects. The program is gearing up for another eventful year as they expand MentorU to a nearby high school, and prepare to welcome the next cohort of excited mentees.
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