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Big Brothers Big Sisters: Mentor2.0 Program

Tags: Regional Partnerships

Isiah and Nick.png

Luckas Huffman, Program Manager, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado-Pikes Peak 

Overview:

Mentor2.0 launched in the Fall of 2016 at Atlas Preparatory High School with a total of 124 freshmen students matched with a mentor. Mentors and mentees communicate online weekly on various topics such as growth mindset, grit and resilience, self-advocacy, and social capital. The pairs meet monthly in person to further their connection and talk more in depth about the mentees’ dreams, goals, and aspirations.

 

Volunteer Recruitment:

Mentor2.0 is entering the second year of the program and searching for approximately 136 mentors. Each mentor will be paired with one incoming freshman to ensure every student is provided the support and guidance they need to graduate high school and succeed in college and the workforce. Requirements to become a mentor are to have an associate’s degree or higher, to attend one two hour event per month in the evening and to write a minimum of one email a week.

Student Testimonies:

•              She taught me to keep striving no matter the bumps in the road. She has also encouraged me to keep an open mind about things. – Isabelle

•              She taught me about a new way of taking education. For example, the military route. – Stacy

•              My mentor told me something that has changed the way I looked at myself and others. She said to not label ourselves if not we are most likely to keep doing the same thing and not change and not labeling myself has changed the way I've done things at school and at home. – Karina

Match Stories:

Deisy & Nydia

Deisy attends Atlas Prepatory High School and was matched wtih Nydia in Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentor2.0 program. Every time Deisy and Nydia get together, it’s like watching old freinds catch up. Both have mentioned mulitple times--after awkward getting to know you jitters--that they are so similar in their personality traits. Nydia sees Deisy as a mirror image of her younger self. Beyond discussion what the curriculum prompts pairs to discuss, Deisy and Nydia have discussed all aspects of each other’s lives, talking about school, career, goals, ambitions, and hobbies.

Deisy plays guitar and Nydia is starting back at school, pursuing her master’s. Nydia has continuously

encouraged Deisy to stay on track with her goals, especially practicing her guitar and to persevere through challenges and learning through them. In turn, Deisy is equally supportive and encouraging to her mentor, checking in on how her school prep is going and how her blog is coming along.

While Nydia works in communications and Deisy is interested in pursuing a career in criminology as a police officer or an undercover detective, she has fostered her mentee’s interest of career path and is working to connect her in the future with an undercover detective she is friends with.

Anthony & Nick

Through Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentor2.0 program, Nick and Anthony made a quick connection from the start of their match by a shared interest in music. Nick has a strong passion for creating music and his mentor, a music producer and DJ, shares in that passion. Throughout the first year of their match, Nick and Anthony have grown through their love of listening to and making music. Anthony has talked about his experience as a mentor being something incredible to watch his mentee learn, grow and take his advice. Nick has worked hard to maintain his academics while taking further interest in creating music with the help of his mentor.

Anthony and Nick have shared links with one another of songs they have created and have asked each other for feedback on how to improve. Anthony has also provided Nick with online resources to help him develop his passion and begin producing his own music. Anthony described his mentee as lightyears ahead of where he was at his age with the time and dedication he puts into practicing guitar, learning new skills, and working to stay on track academically. 

Dear Anthony,

I would like to take this time to thank you for taking the time to join the program and being my mentor. I

couldn't ask for a better mentor. It’s very hard to find someone who has the same interest as you musically. I also appreciate you taking the time to make videos for me because it really helps.

Thank you, Nick

Guadalupe & Jill

Jill came to Big Brothers Big Sisters Pikes Peak with her husband wanting to volunteer and make a difference in the life of a youth. As a busy professional working for the USOC, Mentor2.0 was the perfect fit. Jill and her mentee, Lupe met for the first time in October 2016 and both felt like it was a good initial connection. However, Lupe was not feeling very engaged with the program.

Over the course of the first few months Lupe would struggle with what to write to her mentor during the weekly class sessions and began writing shorter messages to her mentor. After a few in person meetings, getting to know Jill and realizing that her mentor will be someone she can lean on over the next four years, she began opening up more and more.

Lupe eventually started volunteering to help with setting up the monthly events and would anxiously await her mentor’s arrival. As the year wrapped up, Lupe shared this message with Jill:

“Jill, thank you so much for all the encouragement and support! And also, thank you for always helping

me and telling me it would be ok when I have problems. We always have good times at the events, we

talk a lot and laugh a lot. I can’t wait to see how our relationship gets better!

I hope you have a great summer too!”

Isaiah & Steve

Mentee Isaiah and Mentor Steve are matched through Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentor2.0 program at Atlas Preparatory High School. Isaiah and Steve have formed a close, and open relationship over the course of year one.   Their bond was initially formed through quick wittedness, and both identifying as “class clowns and goofballs.”  The first few events were relationship building opportunities for the two to use their jokes, and charisma to carry them. As the year progressed, Isaiah began to show signs that social pressures from peers, increased academic expectations, and program topics such as smart goals/accountability lessons were getting to him.  In class Isaiah began to push back on the need and “coolness of the mentorship”.  The stress came to a head in March when Isaiah missed two weeks of Mentor2.0 class sessions, and was unable to attend an event.  

At this time, Steve reached out to Big Brothers Big Sisters to check in and see if everything was alright. He noticed Isaiah was not as thorough in his responses in the portal, had missed some direct messages, and was bummed that they were not going to see each other at the event. The Program Coordinator filled Steve in as to what he was seeing at school, and discussing with teachers. Isaiah indicated that he wanted to quit the program. At this point a parent-teacher conference was scheduled. During the conference, the Program Coordinator shared that when Isaiah is one-on-one he has the brains and capabilities to reach his goal of going to the University of Notre Dame, of studying business and global finance, but that his actions, choices, and his inability to stand up to peer pressures in class was holding him back.

He and mom agreed to finish out year one and try the final two and a half months of school. Isiah returned, finished his missed work unprompted, and took a leadership role at the final two events. It looks as though he will finish with his fourth quarter grades being the highest of the year, and is on very solid ground to move into year two of the program.