Published March 24th, 2017 at 12:00 AM
At-risk students who meet regularly with a mentor are less likely to skip school and more likely to enroll in college, according to youth.gov. Other benefits are a decreased likelihood of drug and alcohol use, improved behavior and increased self-esteem, a benefit that is also shared by their mentors. Take Note is invested in changing the landscape of education in Kansas City, and we know the community is, too. So we’ve compiled a short list of ways to get involved with the city’s youth and their education.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is one of the oldest mentoring organizations in the United States. Since 1964, the Greater Kansas City chapter has paired Bigs, volunteer adults, with more than 27,000 Littles, area youth. In the traditional program, Littles in grades two through seven and their Bigs share a few hours together each week. The Aces program matches adults with youth in grades eight through college for a few hours each month.
Adults involved in Lead to Read are paired with a first, second and third graders for 30-minute weekly reading sessions. These sessions take place around the lunch hour at Kansas City Public Schools and schools in the Center School District, as well as Crossroads Academy and Hope Leadership Academy.
MINDDRIVE targets high school students with an interest in science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM) who are in need of an educational intervention and additional support for their growth and development. Mentors work with students on project-based learning experiences, which include automotive design and media production. Adults from all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to be involved. Technical skills are not required.
With chapters in both Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas, the OK Program provides opportunities for African-American males ages 12 to 18 to connect with positive adult influences. The program’s goal is to reduce the rates of incarceration and homicide among young African-American men by helping youth develop leadership and critical thinking skills and by promoting academic excellence. Mentors, known in the OK Program as Teammates, meet with students for weekly KIC’IT (Kids Interacting, Communicating Immix Teammates) Sessions which include conversation and recreation.
HALO Kansas City provides programming for homeless youth via its Halo Learning Center. Since the youth involved are often in transition, the program is not structured to specifically offer long-term mentoring, but it does rely heavily on the dedication of volunteers to host regular programming and provide positive role models for the youth.
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