This week we kicked off our Little Lift mentoring program at Shaver Elementary School. Through this program, Parkrose High School students become mentors for elementary age children. This initiative will utilize a version of Elevate’s proven curriculum that has been adapted to be effective for younger students, ingraining at an early age the character qualities needed to succeed in school. At the same time, the Little Lift program also expands the character horizons of the high school mentors who are responsible for giving back in their own community. Studies have shown that cross-age mentoring improves connectedness to school and peers, self-esteem, and prosocial behaviors for both mentees and mentors.
A partnership with Shaver Elementary school allows Elevate to bring much needed support to these younger children. Shaver Elementary has been designated a “Focus School,” which refers to high poverty schools that need additional support in order to close the achievement gap among historically underserved student populations. More than 90% of the children who attend Shaver are low income. For the past two months, our professional Teacher/Mentors have been preparing 10th and 11th grade students to step into mentoring roles at the elementary school.
Both the high school and elementary participants were very excited to meet each other. After a couple of introductory sessions, the high school students will begin character development lessons. After a great session this week, we are very much looking forward to the friendships and lessons that will develop over the coming year and hope to expand the program to an additional elementary school in the spring. As they travelled back to the high school, one student mentor said “I wish we could do this every day!”
This vital program is made possible with generous support from the Tykeson Family Charitable Trust.