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Mentorship Grade Proposal
-- Anonymous, January 28, 1999
The Strive Mentorship Program
Strive is a motivational program started by Don Mooney from White Bear Lake, Minnesota. The program is aimed at high school seniors who are not meeting their maximum potential in school and who want to improve their present grades. Students in the lower one-third of the class are eligible to participate in Strive.
In International Falls, the Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, Aquillo League, Rainy Lake Womens Club, and the local school district are working together to make a difference in the lives of the young people involved in Strive. The students often have the same abilities as those in the upper two-thirds of the class. The difference is often motivation, attendance, work habits, self-esteem and success in the classroom. It is important, therefore, that all Strive students who improve are recognized for their effort. Strive is also a scholarship program which recognizes and rewards seniors enrolled in the program who show the most improvement in their class standing. The winners of the scholarships are determined by the net increase in their GPA from the end of their junior year to their final high school GPA. The GPA accounting is done by the high school. The student who raises his or her grades the most, will be given one year of fully paid tuition and books at a college or tech school. The program also helps students find summer employment at a pay rate higher than minimum wage, provides monthly meetings with caring adults, and hosts an end of the year awards banquet for all Strive students and their parents.
My experience in Strive started with a training session on October 6, 1998. At this training I learned about adolescent and child development, what it means to be a mentor, and what mentorship programs are available in International Falls. I decided to join the Strive program at that time because I wanted the opportunity to work with a student who was not in the elementary school. By doing this I took myself out of my comfort zone, but I am really glad that I did. On October 13, and October 27, I attended further training sessions that helped me to understand what my role as a mentor would entail and what community services are available to help me be a mentor. By the end of October, I was assigned a girl to contact. We met at a Strive breakfast meeting on November 19, 1998, although we had spoken on the telephone four times before we met face to face. Since that time we talk on the phone once a week and meet each month at the Strive breakfast meetings.
My Strive student is still very quiet about her personal life but she is very excited about the improvements she is making in school. She raised her GPA last quarter to a 3.4 although it did mean that she had to quit basketball to fit everything into her schedule. She currently works part time at MacDonalds and takes classes at the alternative school in the evening so that she will have all of the credits that she needs to graduate with her class on time. She has a resume in place that we are going to go over together on February 4,1998. We have had conversations about future job interviews and she seems anxious to make sure that her resume is well done.
I find that I have to be a very patient listener and not offer too much advice. My role is to listen and guide with friendship and trust. Students of this age take a long time to develop that trust, but I think that my patience will be rewarded. The Strive mentors meet once a month for a dinner to discuss any problems, suggest ways of helping our students, and talk about the experiences we have had during the past month. These meetings keep us focused on our role as mentors and help us to remain patient.
-- Anonymous, January 29, 1999