WHAT ARE WE?
The ULA Peer Mentorship Program is an after-school program coordinated with one high school and one middle school in Brooklyn that students of all genders can partake in. It is a holistic program designed to advance leadership skills, social justice principles and values, self-determination, and mentorship skills in our young people. Staff and mentors view youth as catalysts for change to improve gender, race, and class rights for communities of color. Serving as many as 50 students, the program facilitates positive and engaging relationships between middle school and high school students, through which all participants learn and grow.
OUR YOUTH DEVELOPMENT MODEL
- Social Growth and Identity: youth exploring the concept of identity and build character in relation to self and the larger community through a broad range of enrichment and support activities.
- Consciousness Raising: challenging oneself and influencing others to think critically about systems of oppression and the roles individuals and communities play in these systems.
- Youth Leadership: playing an active role in self-determination, which in turn has an impact on the community at large.
- Education and Career: promoting cross-disciplinary academic excellence and exposure to nontraditional career goals.
- Community Organizing for Social Justice: building organizational skills and implementing strategies that mobilize the community to change gender, race, and class dynamics for people of color living in urban communities.
- Health and Fitness: building nutrition and fitness awareness and practice.
6 PRINCIPALS OF PEDAGOGY – TEACHING FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
- Let critical consciousness by the foundation of the work.
- Be a catalyst for change within the classroom, school, and community.
- Meet students where they are.
- Teach skills, bridge gaps.
- Collaborate with individuals, families, and communities.
- Make student evaluations strength-based.
- Service Learning Component – Students get the opportunity to learn about non-profits and community-based organizations by learning how they serve the community. Students engage in their community through partnering with ULA middle school students in a mentor-mentee relationship.
- Health and Fitness Component – Students are encouraged to take an active role in their health and fitness. By sharing experiences and knowledge about high school programming, students will impart information to ULA middle school students.
- Artistic Expression Component – Students are given an outlet in which they can express themselves through art. Through their partnership with ULA middle school students and in their own training, the Mentorship Program students will utilize art as a way to explore and create discussion surrounding social issues.
The ULA Peer Mentorship Program staff is comprised of a mix of GGE staff and teachers, counselors, and administration from the participating schools. GGE works with the participating school’s staff to ensure the program meets the needs and desires of the students.
Program Director – Nicole Hamilton
“I think it [The ULA Peer Mentorship Program] helped me because it introduced me to the different identities, classes, and races, and then I was able to appreciate them more.” –Keyanna Johnston
“Since I started this program I have gotten better at speaking so if it came to like conducting a workshop I think I would be okay. Because now I know I can breathe and relax and say what I need to say and make sure they know what they understand what they are doing. So I feel much better now after this program with speaking.” –Shenese Patterson
“I have changed because I see that whatever I do it impacts my mentees. And makes me understand how I grew up.” –Jordan Poyer
“The best part was probably telling the kids stuff about high school and letting them be informed. Because kids in middle school don’t get informed about many things. And it’s an opportunity because they get to learn about high school and other situations that they might not know or won’t want to learn about.” –Shayra Coby
“I think I had a really big impact on the mentees because when we were talking about high school you can see how enthusiastic they were to talk about it and to learn and they ask a lot of good questions.” –Leanne Foster