The Project MALES Student Mentoring Program was piloted at William B. Travis Early College High School (ECHS) during the 2011-2012 academic year. Currently, Project MALES mentoring serves six middle schools and six high schools in the Central Texas region through partnerships with local school districts. Our services in Austin ISD include Dobie Middle School, Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy, Kealing Middle School, Lively Middle School, Lyndon B. Johnson ECHS, McCallum HS, Navarro ECHS, Northeast ECHS, Travis ECHS, and Webb Middle School. We also provide services to Del Valle ISD, which includes Dailey Middle School and Del Valle HS. Our program has also recently served Texans CAN Academies and East Austin College Prep. Mentors visit with local high school and middle school students every week to mentor and discuss a variety of topics ranging from college preparation to financial literacy to the “soft” skills needed to succeed in college and beyond.
Advancing equitable educational outcomes for male students of color at the local, state, and national level.
The Project MALES Student Mentoring Program collaborates with local schools and communities to implement and sustain effective mentoring services for male students of color, focused on increasing post-secondary success.
Since 2011, the Project MALES Student Mentoring Program has focused on relationship-building among undergraduate mentors and male high school students in Central Texas school districts. This model is a research-informed initiative that highlights mentoring as a way to leverage social capital among males of color at various points in the educational pipeline to ultimately build a stronger college-going culture among this group of students. The basic structure entails a “near-peer” mentoring philosophy, with college freshmen being paired with high school freshmen to allow for long-term bonds to develop.
The mentoring model takes a dynamic and intergenerational approach to achieve increased achievement and retention of male students of color both in secondary and post-secondary educational settings. This model brings together three key groups: (I) professionals as role models, (II) current college students, and (III) younger Latino and African-American male students in local high and middle schools. In this model, professionals (e.g., graduate students, student affairs practitioners, community leaders, and allies) serve as mentors to males of color in college. In turn, these college students have the opportunity to engage in mentoring local high school male students.
This inter-generational model is structured around a variety of experiences that focus on leadership development, community engagement, and service. Mentors and mentees engage in the following formal activities:
- Weekly or Bi-weekly guided, purposeful peer-mentoring sessions across generational lines (professionals to college students, college students to high school students)
- A weekly meeting among first-year college students (cohort-style experience) that will strengthen social bonds and cultivate a nurturing network between mentor participants
- A monthly Pláticas series that will feature prominent Latino male speakers (e.g., professionals, role models) that will facilitate small group discussions among mentor participants
- Semester-long community outreach and/or service projects that will involve both mentors and mentees at both participating colleges and high schools
Critical Mentoring Curriculum
We define brotherhood as a network and/or group bounded by shared values, principles, attitudes, and beliefs. These networks and/groups aim to challenge and empower their members in positive ways, and to hold each other accountable to these values and beliefs so they can collectively impact their local communities in positive and empowering ways.
We define leadership in an individual and collective sense, as a person or groups who have the necessary qualities to be an example in multiple spaces: at home, in school, and in their communities. Leaders develop the ability to persevere and accept the support and input of others to work cohesively towards a common goal.
College & Career Readiness
We define college and career readiness as being academically and socially prepared to succeed in college and career. College and career readiness ensures that students have the tools, skills, and abilities to succeed and excel academically in school. Students should be able to translate these skills and abilities to succeed and excel in the workplace.
Health & Wellness
We define health and wellness as promoting healthy relationships amongst our students. Achieving health and wellness requires taking the initiative to improve our health holistically, and includes but it is not limited to students’ physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health and well-being.
We define identity as the unique aspects that make individuals, in all their complexity, who they are rather than necessarily how they are defined by society and the media. We promote positive self-identity development by creating safe spaces for students to examine their own experiences and identities and to allow them to freely express it. Understanding identity development in its multiple expressions allows students to understand themselves, their experiences, and how they relate to other diverse individuals and communities around them.