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|Project Title: ||One to One Program|
|School Year: ||2007|
|School - District:||Newton North High - Newton|
|Contact Name:||Nancy Holczer|
|Contact Phone:||(617) 559-6590|
|Community Need:||Education, Human Needs|
|Brief Description of SL Project: |
High School juniors and seniors are trained to serve as mentors for the academic year. They learn about child development, appropriate activities to do with children, how to interact with families that may be different than their own and how to manage a child safely. The children are referred for mentoring by parents as well as community and school professionals. They meet for 3 hours each week independently with their mentee from November through May. After the 8 week training session they meet weekly in groups for supervision and reflection. They submit a weekly journal and receive a reply suggesting other ideas and positive reinforcements for their efforts with their mentee. The children served are 1st through 7th graders who need a one to one relationship for various reasons including: significant special needs, family crises, poor social skills, recent death of a parent.
All mentors learn a great deal about themselves and are introduced to a family very different than their own. It broadens their view of the community and the world. Many are trying out career interests in education or psychology; others mention having learned a great deal that will help them as parents.
|The Community Need the Project is Meeting:|
The One to One Program is a well established Newton Public Schools program that has matched trained teens and needy children for over 30 years. Community and school professionals use the program as a resource for helping children in Newton. High school students choose to join the program by selecting to sign up for the class. Many mention waiting all of high school to become an upperclassman and eligible for the class. The students, during the training phase, are told a great deal about the children needing mentoring. They are then given the opportunity to describe what type of child they feel most able to help. Matching then follows their requests as much as possible.
|Service Component: |
Students meet weekly from November through May individually with the child they are matched with. These children are in need of a special relationship to improve social skills, self-esteem, and to feel special when their families need help. The teens must contact the parents to meet the child and to discuss what the parent hopes the teen will accomplish. They discuss how and when the pair will meet and what types of activities they will do together. Close to 100 teens meet with their matched child for 3 hours a week in a single meeting for 24 weeks. Due to the longevity of this program the community impact is huge. For example, Newton Public School teachers were mentors in this program when they were high school students and each year current mentors were once the children served. They all want to give back what was important to them when they were younger. Many of our previous mentors go on to mentor children in college or beyond.
|Connections with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: |
Frameworks are listed below. All students used their individual mentoring experience to discuss in the classroom all of these standards each week and through that helped support their peers in optimizing the effectiveness of their mentoring. Open discussions of the different ways that families managed were held weekly.
PreK-12 Standard 6: Family Life
Students will gain knowledge about the significance of the family on individuals and society, and will learn skills to support the family, balance work and family life, be an effective parent, and nurture the development of children.
PreK-12 Standard 7: Interpersonal Relationships
Students will learn that relationships with others are an integral part of the human life experience and the factors that contribute to healthy interpersonal relationships, and will acquire skills to enhance and make many of these relationships more fulfilling through commitment and communication.
PreK-12 Standard 14: Community and Public Health
Students will learn the influence of social factors on health, the contribution of public health, and will gain skills to promote health and to collaborate with others to facilitate healthy, safe, and supportive communities.
|How Youth Voice Helps Shape Project:|
Every week the teens involved decide what they are going to do with the child they mentor. With only parent approval required, the decisions are all up to them. It is a very personal relationship and responsibility.
|Student Reflection Component: |
Students keep weekly journals in which they are asked to reflect on accomplishments that week and pose questions so that they can better understand what they are doing and how they might better handle situations. A program professional reads their weekly journal and replies to their questions and gives praise to their accomplishments. Three times a year they must write a paper. The 1st is to interview the teacher of the child they are working with. The teens travel to elementary/middle schools and teachers discuss how they see this child and offer suggestions. Parents give permission for this to happen. The 2nd paper is a choice of interviewing the child’s parent, emailing the teacher to reconnect or writing a research paper exploring a topic that will illuminate the child’s struggles such as ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, etc. The final paper asks the teens to write a speech to help recruit teens to join the program in the future. In it they must tell what they have learned from this experience.
“I have learned from this experience that I need to organize my time more wisely. Towards the end, I was able to get the hang of it, and I also realized that having a routine works much better than having meetings randomly during the week. I also learned that spending time with children might be something I would want to do when I grow up. For instance after helping A. with homework, I could see myself going into teaching, I felt so rewarded after helping A. understand a certain concept.
I recommend the One to One program to anyone who wants to enrich their life, by making a difference in another younger person’s life. I think it is important to stress the fact that OTO is a big responsibility; you don’t want to let your younger brother or sister down, so when you sign up, you must know the time commitment. But in the end the whole experience is worth it, because you truly make someone happy in such a unique way, that not their parents, friends or family could do."
|Community Partners Involved: |
The adult professionals work with community professionals, school personnel and parents to support the teens’ work after they have identified the children needing service. They are all given opportunities to evaluate and assess the effectiveness of the matches.
|Demonstration/Celebration of Students' Work: |
Each year the program sponsors four group outings that everyone looks forward to. During these the pairings are all invited to come together for fun and food. This year we held a swim/gym/ice cream party in January, a trip to the Big Apple Circus in April, a charity car wash in April/May and an end of year picnic in late May. The matches donated over $400 to a local charity as a result of their car wash.
|Evaluation of Project's Impact:|
In January during the weekly supervision groups the teens are asked to list three goals they hope to accomplish with their child and in March we look at them again to see how they are doing, if their goals were good ones and then they tweak them.
School professionals, community professionals and parents are asked for feedback throughout the year. Many call or write letters or emails to provide praise or ask for improvement in any particular match.
All teens and parents are all asked to fill out evaluative forms at the end of the year.
|Challenges/Solutions Identified by District:|
* NOTE: This project summary was written by the district/community. Any text in italics was added or modified by the Department (ESE). Most of these projects were supported with Learn & Serve America funds distributed through the ESE.