Here at St. Stephen’s Youth Programs, we strive to surround each young person with a comprehensive circle of care that supports him or her on the road to successful adulthood. The opportunity for our young people to create healthy relationships with adults is a central part of this. The variety of types and modes of mentoring in our programs is part of how we build these relationships.
On Monday February 27, the growth of mentoring at St. Stephens was fully evident, as there were three simultaneous programs and meetings happening. In one room, Jeremy met with the Wellesley College volunteers to plan the spring SAT Prep series of workshops. This prep course provides SSYP's high school juniors with comprehensive study and practice by partnering students with college volunteers to work one-on-one, ensuring they are prepared for the spring test. This program has developed and grown over the past three years; it is now focused on individualized support and attention based on the needs of each student.
In another room, there was a training for all mentors in our College and Career program. This is a program that began with one-on-one mentors for all of SSYP'sh high school juniors and seniors. While that continues, this year St. Stephens has made a real commitment to expanding this mentoring program in two directions; we now match mentors with high school sophomores and we are coaching mentors to stay with the students as they transition from high school to college. The training on February 27th introduced our evolving model, with cohorts of mentors who are all supporting students of the same age and grade. This allows mentors to support one another. At the training, mentors had small group discussions led by SSYP staff and experienced mentors, sharing needed resources so they can best support their students.
In a third room, there was a new initiative that SSYP is launching in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC). For years, JCRC volunteers have been a vital part of our academic night success, serving on Mondays and Wednesdays to support tutoring for the YLC (Youth Leadership Corps). The partnership with JCRC continues to grow in exciting ways; this spring features young professionals from JCRC providing one-on-one mentoring for our middle school students. The pairs will build relationships, work on homework, and engage in other enrichment activities.
Fostering healthy relationships continues to be a core part of the St. Stephen’s Youth Programs model, and Monday served as another example of just how many different ways it is happening.
By: Jeremy Kazanjian-Amory, Sr. Manager of College Access & Success