Kevin and Doug
Doug, a Communities In Schools volunteer, has mentored Kevin for 6 years. “In elementary school Kevin struggled with behavior problems, which caused his grades to suffer. We met and worked on math homework or played chutes and ladders after school. Soon, his behavior improved. Kevin became interested in music and started playing percussion in the school band. Now that Kevin is in high school, we talk about life experiences and the importance of keeping good grades in preparation for college. Mentoring Kevin gives me a chance to give back to the community. Growing up I had very few black male mentors, and I wanted to be that kind of example to Kevin. I’m so proud to see how he’s developed into a mature young man.”
Mentoring: Helping Students Achieve Success
Communities In Schools selects children for their mentoring program based on factors that are shown to positively influence poor academic performance, attendance, social and or family issues, self-esteem, behavior, trust, and school attachment. Selected kids are then matched with trained and caring adult mentors that meet with a child one hour, one day a week, during the school day.
Mentors facilitate discussions, play games, and participate in activities that meet the specific gifts and needs of the child. Mentors and children develop trusting relationships that are designed to boost a child's self-confidence, and help set positive goals so that the mentees succeed in school and life. Many mentors remain connected to their student through middle and high school.
Doug, a mentor through CIS, describes the positive experience he has had mentoring Kevin:
"Kevin and I have been paired together for more than 5 years. In elementary school Kevin struggled with a lot of social issues, which led to behavioral problems. His fighting and acting out also caused his grades to suffer. My wife was a teacher at Kevin's elementary school and she suggested that I would be a good mentor for Kevin.
Through the years I have had the privilege and joy of seeing him grow and mature into a young man. I remember helping him with math homework and playing chutes and ladders in the library with him in elementary school. Now that Kevin is in high school, we sit and talk about life experiences, professional sports, and the importance of keeping good grades in preparation for college. We have gone on lots of mentor field trips over the years. One that stands out in my mind was a visit to the local family fun center. We did everything from miniature golf to video games. Watching him attempt to hit a 70 mph pitch in the batting cage was hilarious!
In middle school, teachers approached me many times to express their gratitude for working with Kevin. They were always positive and said they were amazed by how his behavior had changed for the better. I have also seen Kevin fall in love with music. He currently plays percussion in the high school band and often tells me how much he enjoys it. This summer Kevin and I had the chance to meet Shaun Alexander. I'll never forget how his face lit up when he shook the running back's hand.
Mentoring Kevin gives me a chance to give back to the community. Growing up I had very few black male mentors or teachers. I want to give Kevin the opportunity to see that there are black males doing positive things in the community. I'm trying to help Kevin understand the importance of education, and I think he's getting it. Seeing Kevin develop into a mature young man is a really rewarding experience for me."