The Project MALES Student Mentoring Program is off to a great start in the 2018-19 academic year. AY 2018-19 marks the eighth year that Project MALES is partnering with the Austin Independent School District (AISD). We currently serve the following AISD middle schools: Webb Early College Prep, Martin Middle School, Mendez Middle School, Burnet Middle School, and Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy. In addition, we serve at the following AISD high schools: Travis Early College High School (ECHS), Lanier High School, Reagan ECHS, Eastside Memorial ECHS, and Lyndon B. Johnson ECHS in Austin ISD.
This year, we have expanded our mentoring services to three middle schools in the Del Valle Independent School District: Ojeda Middle School, Dailey Middle School, and Del Valle Middle School. Our curriculum focuses on the themes of Brotherhood, Leadership, College and Career Readiness, Health and Wellness, and Identity. All of our program activities center on these five pillars to anchor our mentoring initiatives with boys and men of color.
Our Mentoring Site Coordinators – Alicia Moreno, Danielle Marie Zaragoza, Edgar Fidel Lopez, Allanah Manzanares, and Victor Martin – are each assigned three sites to lead along with a team of UT undergraduate student mentors who conduct our weekly mentoring sessions. Our UT undergraduate student mentors are trained in a two credit service-learning course concurrent with placement in a school site. In the next few weeks, we will spotlight our schools and the PM team who lead our group and one-on-one mentoring activities at each site. This week we are spotlighting Alicia and Armando!
School Site: Del Valle Middle School
Mentors at DVMS: Arturo Galindo, Christopher Egbuchunam, Derrick Martinez, Edwin Sanchez, Israel Vasquez, Kathy Estrella, Mariano Gutierrez, Maritza Ramirez, Oliverio Castanon
Quote from Alicia: “For a lot of the students that we serve, our students look forward to our weekly visits. They enjoy being able to express themselves in their own way without being confined from the concept of what an obedient student is supposed to look like.”
Quote from Mentee: “When are you coming back?”
School Sites: Alternative Learning Center (ALC), Gardner Betts Detention Center
Mentor at ALC: Edwin Sanchez
Quote from Armando: “Although I am privileged to have the opportunity to go into spaces such as the Alternative Learning Center (ALC), Gardner Betts Detention Center and soon the Lockhart Woman’s prison, I wish I didn’t have to meet these brilliant people and scholars in these circumstances. I wish these institutions did not exist. However, as long as these spaces are functioning, I will use the cultural and social capital I accumulated throughout my years in academia and bring the institution to the people. One of my mentors asked me, ‘If we lived in a utopia what would be your occupation?’ My response then and today remain the same—I will be in the trenches with those who have been pushed out the system because I am them and they are me.”
Quote from Mentee: “This class has made a great impact on my life because if this class had not come about then I do not know what I would be doing with my life today.”