In partnership with the Cesar Chavez Schools, supported by the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative (DCPNI) and the Care For the Children Fund, Mentor Foundation USA has provided mentoring and career experiences to over 70 students throughout the 2015/16 school year at Chavez Parkside and Capitol Hill campuses and a total of 100 students have participated in our Shattering the Myths drug prevention youth rally.
The Mentoring in Schools Program aims to reduce risk factors leading to negative outcomes such as substance abuse through bi-weekly one-on-one mentoring sessions, monthly life skills classes, career mentoring opportunities and cultural enrichment experiences.
Throughout the school year, students had the opportunity to explore careers in a variety of fields, from STEM, to communications, to law to public policy.
Casaplex, a Kensington, MD, company that designs smart homes and buildings, introduced Parkside students to careers that combine engineering, technology and architecture. Students were tasked with creating ideas for a ‘smart home’ for a fictional client and the design process helped students develop confidence about public speaking and presenting ideas to potential business peers.
“Some students that are typically reserved and introverted were so engaged in the process that teamwork and public speaking were not a problem,” said Mentor Program Facilitator Beynu Osagyefu.
At Dig-It! Games, Parkside students designed a maze video game, coded with trap doors, secret passages and hidden entrances. Although the group was small, the day proved exciting and informative as they were able to create a challenging game.
Students also visited APCO Worldwide, a corporate communications firm, to learn about potential careers in public relations and mass communications. After presentations from APCO leaders, students were split into groups to devise a PR strategy for Chipotle to increase sales and restore brand integrity. APCO Associate Director Brent Crane shared that this mentoring session affirmed his dream of becoming an educator.
18 seniors from Cesar Chavez Capitol Hill campus were provided monthly onsite mentoring at BakerHostetler office in downtown DC office. The experience and outcomes were truly rewarding for mentees and mentors alike. 100 percent of the 18 seniors that participated in the program have been accepted to college and 75 percent of those will be attending 4-year universities in the fall.
In February, the World Bank hosted a career mentoring session for 40 students from the Capitol Hill campus. They met with Angelica Silvero, Head of the Speakers Bureau, to learn about the World Bank’s mission and operations. Students were also introduced to the Connect4Climate campaign, which tackles climate change by promoting solutions and encouraging action. The day finished with a tour and a question-and-answer session.
In addition to career experiences, we also had special mentoring sessions designed to engage students and promote ideas such as making good choices, surrounding oneself with friends that are positive and other paths to success.
DC poet, spoken word artist, activist, musician and educator Bomani Armah hosted a creative mentoring session for students and mentors alike. Bomani performed his hit single “The Hustle” and asked attendees to dissect the meaning of the song. He then led the group in writing a poem to share their experiences with their own words. The session ended with attendees creating a group sonnet about Mentor Foundation and their experiences in the program.
This year Mentor held a “Shattering the Myths” drug prevention rally in Baltimore, Maryland, which included a total of 250 students from DC and Baltimore area schools, including 100 students from Cesar Chavez. The purpose of the rally was to teach teens the truth about drugs versus the fiction that the media often conveys. A survey taken before the event revealed students were not that concerned about their peers using drugs. But after learning the facts from experts and listening to testimony from people negatively affected by drugs, a survey taken at the end showed levels of concern greatly increased.
The end of the Mentoring year was celebrated with a closing ceremony at the Parkside campus where students and Mentors alike reflected on the amazing trips, wonderful sessions and great experiences they experienced throughout the year. The montage video below shows some of this year’s achievements. We are looking forward to great programming next year as well and BakerHostetler has already begun planning another great experience for students who will be part of their program.