Most of us at PCSD haven’t been in an active classroom on a regular basis since attending school ourselves. For me, I may have taught English, but volunteering for a program for homeless youth in Honduras is much different than the American classroom setting—and that was nearly 20 years ago. That said, we are all about partnering with our charter schools and I’ve been working with Green Dot Public Schools, a charter management organization headquartered in Los Angeles, for around 15 years in one way or another.
It seemed only natural then for PCSD to start mentoring for Green Dot’s National Mentorship Program during its inaugural year in FY2021-2022 and we’ve continued mentoring again during the second year of the program as well. Of the six mentors from PCSD who participate in the program, many of them work with students at Ánimo City of Champions High School in Los Angeles. My two sophomore mentees attend Hilcrest High School in Memphis, Tennessee, though I’m located in PCSD’s Northern California office in Oakland.
During the pandemic, Zoom school was not a favorite of many students. Given the mentorship program was on Zoom, it took a while for students to warm up to their mentors—many were reluctant to put video on or come off mute, for example. Towards the end of the year though, the students were more active in using chat or answering questions in Kahoot quizzes. This year we have experienced even more interaction with our mentees where we are connected to two mentees for every one mentor. During our most recent mentoring session, we worked through a purpose statement with our mentees based on a template from nXu Education. Going through the exercise was challenging even as adults, but looking at our completed statements felt like a significant accomplishment and a good reflection of ourselves. And, what’s more, it was so inspiring to hear the purpose statements of the students! Here is a purpose statement from one of my mentees developed with some minimal guidance:
“As a person of hope, my purpose in life is to combine my strengths in kindness, calmness, perseverance, and humbleness, with my love for people, to help people and explore the world (as a traveling nurse).”
We’ve gotten off to a great start this school year. I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the year and beyond goes with my Green Dot mentees!