What an exciting week we had as we finally were able to match our mentors with their new mentees! Our scholars have been anxiously awaiting the news as to whom they will be working with for the duration of the school year. On Wednesday we did the “Speed Matching” lesson where our mentors interviewed the mentees to see how well suited they may (or may not be) for one another. It was a day full of energy and excitement as the scholars asked and answered questions about what their favorite class was, what they were struggling with in school and/or at home, and what their academic and/or personal goals were for the year. Each mentor spoke to each mentee for one minute before recording their thoughts and moving on to the next individual. At the conclusion of the lesson, each scholar wrote down their first, second, and third choice for either a mentor or mentee with whom they desired to work, and indicated why they chose those individuals.
It was a long process as my student assistants and I worked to pair the scholars up according to the desires and needs of each individual. We also created thoughtful seating charts so that our mentors and mentees can begin to not only support each other, but other pairs in class as well. Once we had settled the details, I was able to announce the pairings to the classes, and was met with widespread approval- everyone was so thrilled to finally be matched!
Our mentors have begun the process of getting to know their mentee’s schedules and are getting a handle on what the needs of their new mentees are so that they can begin to implement plans to start working towards goals as a team. Our mentors and mentees have also begun working on an art project where they get to design their community and identify where they would like to see mentoring in that community (beyond the YESS program at Shaw Heights). Many voiced their desires to have mentors on their sports teams, in their church groups, and several even nominated the idea of having “sibling mentors”- a way of taking the responsibility of being a sibling to the next level. It was wonderful to see how much our scholars value mentoring.
Lastly, I would like to congratulate Erin Ballew and Ava Martinez, two of our 8th grade mentors, who won the YESS t-shirt contest with their concept of a black and white “jersey” style shirt with a large “03” on the back, indicating the number of years YESS has been at Shaw Heights. Julianna Romero also deserves a shout out for her amazing hand drawn design of a Shaw Heights falcon which was widely admired.
We are all looking forward to getting deeper into our work with our new mentors and mentees next week!