Mentoring Tips: Communicating over Summer Vacation

Power 4 Youth has been extremely successful in making matches to last throughout the academic year. But what happens in the summer months, when school is out and mentors and mentees are busy taking trips with their family and friends?

Summer months are often seen as slack months; a time when students can binge watch on Netflix and play video games for hours in lieu of reading a book or taking up a new hobby.

The phenomenon known as the “summer learning loss” is real, as youth have a tendency to experience regression as they spend an extended period of time away from the classroom. And for youth who are involved in mentoring programs, it has been found that they are more susceptible to regression1.

In order to maintain a good relationship and keep the match “alive” and healthy during the summer, remember that communication key. But, don’t feel pressured to constantly check on your mentee. Time apart is good and healthy for the both of you.

We encourage pairs to take a “vacation” from mentoring over the summer. Not keeping in touch for a few weeks does not mean they you won’t re-connect when school starts–and, in fact, it may make re-connecting that much more interesting and fun!

For those who would like to reach out to your mentee, even just to say hi, there are other ways you can communicate aside from a text or a call.

So what are some ways you can keep in touch with your mentee over the summer?

  • Photo Credit: hslb.org

    Postcards/Snail Mail: Tell your mentee what you’ve been up to, where you’ve been, the places you’ve visited, and encourage them to do the same.

  • Emails: Even when you’re crunched for time or money with all the summer activities you have planned, send them a quick email to let them know you’re thinking of them.

Local Action Summit: “My Brother’s Keeper”

At a staggering rate of 716 incarcerations for every 100,000 residents, the U.S. has the largest prison rate in the world according to the Prison Policy Initiative. Of the prison population, over 93% of those serving time are male.

That number is mind-blowing.

So why isn’t there a larger discussion about this epidemic, and what can we do as a community to help mitigate the issue and keep our men out of the system?

My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) is one such initiative that has made its way into public discourse, with clear cut goals and objectives outlined for those communities wanting to make a difference. Presented by President Obama in 2014, MBK has gained traction, with 49 states, D.C., and 19 Tribal Nations who have accepted the community challenge.

Last Thursday, April 7, Long Beach hosted a summit officially announcing the city’s acceptance of the challenge.

What makes the plan unique to Long Beach is the city’s status as the most ethnically diverse in the U.S.

So what are the six key points of the plan and how do we achieve these goals?

  1. Ensure that Long Beach youth are physically and mentally prepared to start school 
  2. Read at grade level by the third grade 
  3. Graduate from high school 
  4. Complete post-secondary education or training 
  5. Successfully enter the workforce 
  6. Remain safe from violent crime 

This is where Power 4 Youth steps in. Mentoring is specifically integral to meeting point number 3, and Power 4 Youth (along with other mentor programs in the city) signed-on to MBK to help achieve this goal. MBK

Our program has served over 350 students, helping them set goals, improve their reading skills and grades, graduate high school, and develop critical life skills. But, we can’t do it alone. We need YOUR help!

P4Y currently has a number of male students on a waiting list to be matched with volunteers. If you’re in the Long Beach area and looking to make a positive and lasting impact, join us for an information session.

For more information about our program contact our Match Supervisor, Samana at samana@power4youth.org.

Click here to learn more about MBK and how you can get involved.

Senior Graduation Reception

As Power 4 Youth nears the end of another school year, alongside our graduating seniors and Class of 2016 mentees, we’d like to say thank you to the outstanding mentors, students, donors, staff, and board members who have made this all possible.

For nearly 20 years we have received generous support from the Long Beach community, and are forever grateful.

We have a lot planned for the coming months, but first, we’d like to reflect on our most recent event:

IMG_0900On Wednesday, April 6, we celebrated the achievements of four students who have been directly involved in the program.

We ate, laughed, cried, met new people, and applauded as our students shared their stories about the role that P4Y played in their lives.

Unlike the weekly meetings held at one of our five mentoring sites, this night was different. We dressed up, and, rather than discuss grades and homework, we talked about the many wonderful directions our students are headed:

Kia, who has been with the program for four years, has been accepted to SIX universities! She plans to become a nurse.

Sara, a writer and bubbly personality, will be attending OCC in the fall. After 2 years, she plans to transfer to UCLA to study journalism.

Cher, who once struggled to maintain passing grades, is now a straight-A student. She plans to attend LBCC and eventually go into law enforcement.

Luis has worked with two different mentors since he first started the program, and has proven to be an outstanding gentleman. He plans to also attend LBCC, with an eye towards film production.

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From left: Vanessa, Sara, Cher, Kelly, Kia, Lisa, Luis, and Tim

Congratulations seniors!!! And the best of luck on your new endeavors!

We have a scholarship fund set up in honor of our four graduates. If you are interested in donating to their college fund, please contact Val Parker at val@power4youth.org or click here to donate.

Happy Monday!