Mentoring at Madison Park Academy is a three year old growing program. Currently 44 senior and junior high school students are paired with 88 5th ,6th ,7th and 8th graders for the purpose of promoting behavioral, academic and community engagement skills. The administration approved an elective course for mentors to first learn about childhood development and positive identity formation, successful classroom learning strategies and perspectives on race, gender, class and sexual discrimination. Then mentees are matched with a trained mentor who surveys their interests and concerns and through a range of activities –eg. games, shared reading, gardening, and engagement with social justice activists in Oakland- form a bond. Each in the pair expand their self awareness and capacity for empathy and kindness, while they also give voice to coping strategies navigating challenges in a Title 1 school. Mentoring is designed to fill a serious gap in lower level school services. Pre, mid, and post qualitative and quantitative assessment demonstrates increased self-esteem and resiliency, leading to a more positive school culture and democratic participation in the community.
What do mentors gain from this mentoring experience?
Learning to listening better
Building empathy for others
Considering emotions of other
Developing skills to become a support system/Trustworthy/Reliable
Providing comfort and support for others
Offering Time and Consistency in order to build trust
Teaching them whats right and wrong
More caring and awareness
Seeing Child Development in Action; watching them grow
Communication; find a way to build conversation
Building; Helping to develop coping skills
Sense of understanding and compassion; Understanding difference and other ways for coping
What do mentees gain from this experience?
Detox from stress
Identity: Students will develop positive views of themselves, their families and their social groups.
Diversity: Students will be kinder to each other, listen and appreciate differences.
Justice: Students will recognize and think critically about injustice.
Action: Students will have the skills and dispositions to take action against injustice.
If you're interested in learning more about MPA's mentoring program, contact Robin Morales at Robin.Morales@acgov.org
Robin Noel Morales is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, who is employed by Center for Healthy Schools and Communities to provide School Based Clinical Support to Madison Park Academy (MPA). For four years Robin's charge has been to coordinate the Mental Health supports for the school, coordination the school support team and managing the crises on campus. Last year the school had 250 referrals for support for a campus of 800 students. Since Robin's experience has been in youth development and she has been working to create a sustainable model for MPA that addresses the challenges faced by the students (over-crowding, high staff turn-over) with the supportive factors that will empower young people.