When I taught middle school the first time, I most enjoyed having clubs and after school tutoring with my students. Through the four years, I had stock market clubs and robotics clubs. We had a lot of fun at our weekly meetings and it helped me develop better relationships with my students. I always enjoyed being able to personally mentor them, but I really wished that I could find someone from the community to encourage them as well. This year, ten years later, it became a reality through a friend I met in a missional community I was a part of.
I helped start a partnership with the NC State sponsored Read2Lead, with Jennifer Castillo as the sponsor. In the fall we had five NC State students mentor five of my students. They developed relationships with our students and met weekly for seven weeks. We used the Habitudes curriculum and it really impacted both the mentors and the students. We then repeated this program in the spring, now including two seventh graders and one eighth grader. Even with a few snow days taking away our mentoring days, it really was an encouragement to our students.
As part of the Read2Lead group, our students were able to attend a college visit in the fall. They were introduced to dorm life, college food, women’s rights, the free expression tunnel, and also were able to attend a college level mathematics class. In the Spring, our students were able to attend a career day sponsored by the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. The Raleigh Chamber found people from healthcare, event management, a veterinarian, an attorney, an architect, and various other local professionals. It was an inspiring event. In fact, one student in particular credited his improvement in grades to that day. It truly inspired him to think of his future. Wow!
It was truly incredible to see something come to to fruition from the hopes and dreams that I had for years. It was even more amazing to see the difference that these unassuming college students changed their lives. I can not wait to start this again next year with expanding even further to reach more students.