“We found the first few mentoring sessions were pretty uncomfortable for everyone last year,” said Lanet Hane, Director Community Connections for RSU14, “So we designed an initial full-group interaction to help change that and make everyone more comfortable from the start.”
Akillian Muhiddin on Windham Middle School’s high ropes course. The course was a part of the activities to help students get to know one another.
This big gathering included a variety of games and activities, including high ropes, designed to help everyone get excited for their first one-on-one interactions. By the end of the afternoon, people knew each other’s names, fun facts about each other and were comfortable simply hanging out together having a good time.
This familiarity is essential for the mentoring program to function successfully.
Mentoring is a weekly event and includes one high schooler and one middle schooler who get together to talk, play games, do homework and just spend time together. These pairs stay together for a full school year, and over time develop strong relationships that are of mutual benefit.
Molly McAllister stated, “Last year we were very individual. This year, instead of having just our mentee, we are talking with multiple middle school students. I think that’s a great chance for students to get multiple perspectives.”
Last year’s pilot program included eight pairs, but the program was such a success that it has more than doubled in size.