On Monday, September 4th, 2017 our mentors, work-study students, and interns kicked off mentoring activities for the fall semester with a retreat. Mentors, work-study students, and interns participated in a variety of activities and workshops.
This year our Project MALES Student Mentoring Program retreat began with ice breakers focusing on team building. This was followed by the mentoring site coordinators and our students engaging in a discussion regarding implicit biases when working with various communities. The discussion was followed with an overview of Project MALES, services, and students. The first part of the retreat ended with a discussion about the service-learning course and the review of the course syllabus.
During the second half of the retreat, our Project MALES mentors, work-study students, and interns participated in a activities, led by members of our local community schools and organizations including, Mr. David Lopez, Assistant Principal at Martin Middle School, Mr. Alonzo Blankenship, a social and emotional learning specialist who supports the Reagan Vertical Team elementary schools, the Eastside Memorial Vertical Team secondary schools, International High School and the Alternative Learning Center, and Mr. Sherwynn Patton, Program Director, for Life Anew, an organization that uses restorative justice to build healthier communities, promote peace and create a space to heal from harms caused by broken relationships.
Mr. Lopez, shared his story and the importance with mentorship. He discussed the importance of supporting students from diverse backgrounds and making sure that mentors were consistent, accountable, and demonstrated authentic forms of caring. Mr. Blankenship, followed by sharing tools for Social Emotional Learning and discussed the importance of generating trust with students. His activities were used as both team building exercises and tools to share with the students we work with. Our retreat concluded with Mr. Patton, talked about restorative circles and their purpose. He shared two important things about restorative practices first, that during the circle process, there was no hierarchy and that people had the freedom to create their own space. Second, one of the key components of restorative practices is the importance of building healthy relationships. He ended by stating that “relationships were everything in life. The rest was details”.
Our 2017 Project MALES Fall retreat was a great success thanks to our guest speakers, mentors, work-study students, and mentoring staff. Stay tuned, as we will be profiling our mentoring sites, mentoring events, and activities throughout the semester.