You are hereMentor program helps students stay on track
Mentor program helps students stay on track
Isabel Lopez Martinez is an 8th grader at Manhattan Middle School. Originally from Juarez, Mexico, she speaks English as her second language. She faces numerous other challenges as she attempts to adjust to the life of an average American teen.
"We call them children on the brink of success," said Dr. Patti Ashley, the Community Access Mentoring Program coordinator. "We don't want to label these students as at risk."
Dr. Ashley was hired by the Boulder Valley School District in February of 2008 to help students, like Isabel, bridge the gap between school and home. She started the Community Access Mentoring Program, a unique program that combines mentoring with after school activities.
"Particularly in middle school, there is a need for kids to be in after school programs because studies have shown between the hours of three and six there is an increase in at risk behaviors," said Ashley.
Students are matched with mentors and asked to fill out an interest survey. Based on this interest survey, students are placed into after school activities. These activities range from arts and crafts to sports and fitness.
In addition to activity placement, students meet with their mentors once a week.
"I look forward to coming a lot cause I really like the mentor. I feel like I can speak to her and she’ll help me," said Isabel Lopez Martinez, an 8th grader at Manhattan Middle School.
These meetings help to establish a relationship of trust, so the student feels they can discuss their problems with the mentor.
"I hope that she enjoys spending time with me. I hope that I can be supportive," said Debora Kolwey, Isabel's mentor and access coach. "I am another adult in her life who is not a parent. I think that all girls growing up need a variety of adult support and influence in their life."
The meetings provide Isabel with the confidence she needs to resist peer pressure in the middle school environment.
"I don't care what other people think of me. I am just going to be myself," said Isabel.