FCA’s ASPIRE after-school and summer program promotes academic success and positive youth development. Through academic support, enrichment activities, character development, and executive functioning skills reinforcement, ASPIRE helps teens graduate high school ready for college or career.
Read about how ASPIRE encourages mentorships in this blog from Allison Footit, Staff Associate and Classroom Lead in the ASPIRE program:
In ASPIRE, adults and students take on a variety of mentoring roles. The volunteers and staff who give their time to ASPIRE come from a wealth of different ethnic, cultural, and academic backgrounds and range in age from 16-year-old high school students to 65-year-old seniors. These are people our students can look up to as role models, who can help guide them through this point in their lives. Whether it’s helping a student study for a math test, participating in a character lesson, teaching a new skill in an elective setting, or simply having a conversation with a student about their day, ASPIRE sees mentoring manifest in many different capacities.
I love watching our students gravitate towards that special person (or people) who they have developed a relationship with over time. Students look forward to the days when certain volunteers come in and seek out staff members they feel a particular connection with and share their successes, fears, and dreams with them.
The importance of mentors has been well-documented. A Harvard study on resilience in youth show that children are more likely to be happy, successful human beings if they have at least one caring, stable adult in their lives. When our students see volunteers coming back week after week and staff working with them every day, all dedicated to helping them, it provides a sense of security and consistency in a life that can otherwise be chaotic.