Jackson MS kicks off mentoring initiativeBy Yasmine Regester
Published: December 31, 2012
Over 70 bicycles were given to Wiley Elementary and Jackson Middle School students for Christmas as part of a celebration, Friday, Dec. 21.
The event was a kick-off to the African American Male Initiative (AAMI) mentoring program being launched at Jackson and to celebrate the accomplishments of the same program already implemented at Wiley Elementary. The African American Male Initiative is a mentoring program for young African American and Hispanic male students who attend Guilford County Schools.
The initiative is a partnership between the United Way of Greater Greensboro, the African American Leadership engagement group and Guilford County Schools.
“We are creating a community initiative for mentoring in the community. Building the numbers and providing financial resources. This program focuses on African American and Hispanic males because GCS has identified a huge need for caring adults to be in the lives of these young people,” said
Frank McCain Jr, vice president of Community Investment with the United Way of Greater Greensboro. The program plans to follow the students through school as they age, beginning in second grade and continuing through twelfth grade at Smith High School. After noted success with Wiley Elementary’s second to fifth grade students, the AAMI is continuing to encourage young boys as they transition to Jackson Middle which instructs grades 6-8.
The program is administered in the schools through the Communities in Schools program, whose purpose is to surround students with community support, empower them to stay in school and achieve in life. “We are working hard together to improve outcomes for African American males. We’re excited that it has expanded to Jackson. The mentors have done a fabulous job with the young men,” said Tony Watlington, GCS strategic planning officer for Communities in Schools.
All of the bicycles given to the children were donated by Lorillard Tobacco of Greensboro. In addition to the bikes, a raffle and dinner were also provided.
“Our job is not to try and replace the teachers or the parents. We come along beside them and participate in the development of that child,” said Rashard Jones, project director of AAMI at Wiley. “Mentors can help add to the academic experiences of the child and exposure them to enrichment activities outside the school environment.”
Demetra Glenn, parent of Ja’bon Dowdy, a 6th grader at Jackson, says she is glad her son is a part of the program.
“His grades have improved. He’s more interested in college and the world around him now because his mentor exposes him to community events.” said Glenn.
According to Jones, the program has nearly 70 mentors between Wiley and Jackson. The program has had significant success in the academic arena as well, with 95 percent of the boys passing the math End-of-Grade test and 78 percent passing the reading End-of-Grade test.
Jones noted that his early years were similar to the young students he’s mentoring. “I realized my testimony was not how I pulled myself up by my boot straps, but how people invested in me and my future.”
For more information visit www.aamicis.org.