As National Mentoring Month kicks off, Talbot Mentors (TM) is poised to strengthen its programs. Guided by new research on best mentoring practices, the organization now seeks to integrate its programs for mentees from elementary school through college and/ or higher education. It will provide a continuum of support for students throughout their educational experiences. These changes will be rolled out gradually during 2021.
With over 20 years’ experience in one-to-one mentoring of Talbot County youth, TM has an enviable track record in supporting paths to success for our community’s youth. In a data-driven society, however, TM plans to develop programs where the results will be measurable. This change will provide young people and their families the opportunity to set goals, and to engage with mentors who can provide support and accountability toward achieving their academic, social and emotional goals.
Last year the TM Board voted to formally include Mid-Shore Scholars (MSS) into the organization. This college access program, with a current enrollment of 25 high school students, enriches the high school experience by integrating reading, math, technology and social skills into weekend, tutoring and after-school activities. Scholarships and college acceptances are now the hallmarks of success for MSS. It will be exciting to chart the progress of the nine high school seniors as they navigate the path to higher education. Two scholars have already received significant scholarships along with college admittance.
Given the success of MSS, younger mentees are already being exposed to the older mentees through the Lit Squad program. Comments from family members praised this program stating, “The program kept them (elementary students) engaged in reading.” One of the youngsters said, “I didn’t like to read out loud that much, but now I do it a lot.”Parents also thought the program could motivate their children to aspire to MSS and tutoring in the future.
The Lit Squad program will resume in January. A Math Squad program will follow in March. MSS scholars look forward to having the opportunity to be role models to young students, creating a self-strengthening model of mentorship for our community’s youth.
Given the constant changes in the format of education during the pandemic, for many students TM has provided much needed stability and support. 2021 promises to be a year of more changes, hopefully allowing students back into their classrooms by September. Whatever the situation, however, Talbot Mentors will continually improve and refine the services it provides to our future, the youth of Talbot County.
To find out more about our programs, mentoring, or donating go to: https://talbotmentors.org/