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Husky to Husky Mentorship Program

Project Overview

A leadership development project that matches high school leaders in the senior class with freshman students who are at risk of dropping out of school, in an effort to motivate them to stay committed to their education.

Identifying the Problem

While Eduardo was working at Juarez-Lincoln High School, he noticed that an overall lack of information among the students, as well as teen pregnancy and drug use, has created a general feeling of apathy towards high school, especially among the freshman students. These factors contribute to a high drop-out rate among the students as well as a disinterest in pursuing college after high school.

Creating A Solution

In an effort to create awareness among the freshmen about the importance of academics, school involvement, community service and the subsequent pursuit of higher education, Eduardo launched a mentorship program called the “Husky to Husky Mentorship Program,” a leadership development program where at-risk freshmen are matched with seniors who are leaders in the community. Eduardo looked for senior students who were in good academic standing and involved in extracurricular activities such as the National Honor Society and other student organizations. He also welcomed seniors who had overcome apathy towards their own education and become motivated to graduate.

This program introduces the mentees to all the community service, academic and athletic opportunities available at the high school, and it also helps the mentors to leave a legacy after they graduate from high school. Mentors and mentees in the program agree to meet at least once a week during their lunch period.

The first month that the mentors-mentees spend together is structured as follows:

  •  Week One

The mentor and mentee introduce themselves to one another and discuss their interests and their goals.

  • Week Two

The mentor introduces the mentee to the mentor’s friends, and they all sit together during the lunch period.

  •  Week Three

The mentor is given a list of summer programs to go over with the mentee. They discuss which programs might be of interest to the mentee and the mentor encourages the mentee to apply to the program.

  •  Week Four

The mentor discusses extracurricular activities with the mentee and encourages the mentee to become involved with such activities during the school year.

Eduardo supervised the mentor-mentee pairs in the beginning, but then gave them the space to develop their own relationships, many of which became strong friendships. Freshman significantly benefited from participating in this program. They became more involved in school and demonstrated a new determination to take charge of their futures.

Lessons Learned

Eduardo’s advice to anyone trying to implement a similar project in their school is to try to establish alliances with teachers, administrators and student organizations on campus. One of the greatest challenges Eduardo faced was obtaining permission from the school administration to implement his project. The administration’s main concern was with students either missing classes or having to come to school early or leave school late in order to participate in the program. Instead of abandoning the project in the face of frustration, Eduardo developed the idea to have the mentor-mentee pairs meet during their lunch period, so they would not miss any classes.

Even after designing the project to address this concern, the administration was not convinced it would work. Nevertheless, Eduardo was committed to his belief that the project would have a lasting impact on the students involved, and after spending much time talking to the high school principle and counselors, he convinced the administration to allow the project to exist on a small scale for a “trial period,” involving five pairs of mentors-mentees for five months. The head counselor, who has served as Eduardo’s immediate supervisor for purposes of this project, has been extremely supportive of the program and impressed by the impact it has had on the freshman participants.

Funding

This project required no resources other than willing participants.

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About This Project

HIA Program:

Denmark Denmark 2011

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