The Project MALES Student Mentoring Program completed its fall 2016 semester with some new additions and changes to our program. This year we kicked off our mentoring partnerships with the following AISD middle and high schools; Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy, Martin Middle School, Mendez Middle School, and Webb Middle School, Lanier High School, Reagan Early College High School, and Travis Early College High School. This semester we added a new high school to our roster of schools, Lyndon B. Johnson Reagan Early College High School. Our curriculum was redesigned over the summer to focus on the themes of Brotherhood, Leadership, and College and Career Readiness so all mentoring instruction and activities centered on these pillars that now anchor all our Project MALES initiatives with boys and men of color. Our Project MALES Student Organization also added new officers Mercedes de la Cruz, Alma Rosado, and Esteban Fernández. As in previous years, the student organization was in charge of planning many community outreach activities throughout the semester, including our monthly platica series that featured academic and community leaders who work in the Austin area, poet and criminal justice activist Jorge Renaud, East Austin community activist Jose Velasquez, and AAMRI and GAAMBK director, Dr. Ryan Sutton spoke this semester addressing our PM UT undergraduate mentors and university and community allies who attended our platicas.
Our mentoring activities ended with our end of semester celebrations honoring our young men for their weekly participation at each of our sites. UT student mentors and mentees had an opportunity to reflect on the semester mentoring activities. In addition, we met with our AISD administrators and staff to discuss highlights and challenges in order to continually build and improves on our mentoring activities for the semester and to plan for the spring semester. Finally, we had our end of semester celebration where we recognized our Project MALES mentors and graduates, some who will be moving on to other opportunities. Nalisia Greenleaf, one of our student leaders and officers was honored for her contributions, as was Miguel Gonzalez, a social work major, who will be interning with the Workers Defense Project next semester. Miguel is also a long time mentor and student leader at Project MALES. We wish them well in their future endeavors.
We are looking forward to a great a great spring semester and to expanding to two new schools in the fall 2017! Our mentoring activities will resume on January 16th MLK day with our Project MALES mentoring retreat where we will convene all returning mentors for workshops and planning activities for the coming spring semester. Stay tuned in late January for highlights from our retreat and for more information about other planned activities and our spring platica speakers.