Shasta Peer Mentoring
Our mentoring programs provide opportunities for young people to be in on-going, mutually beneficial, caring relationships which strengthen their resiliency to the challenges they face in life. This is attained by matching high school students with middle school students.
Friday Night Live Mentoring has been in Shasta County since 2001. It was originally implemented at three paired school sites in the county. Due to its success, the program was expanded in 2003. The new sites were identified as Shasta Peer Mentoring sites. In 2011, the name was changed to Shasta Friday Night Live Peer Mentoring. Peer mentoring has adapted the Project Alert! curriculum (a science-based program designed to reduce the usage of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs in middle school students by preventing non-users and experimenters from becoming regular users. Additional materials include S.P.A.R.K. (Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids), Lifeplan, and locally-designed lessons through which students discuss topics including peer pressure, bullying, violence prevention, conflict resolution, discrimination, and school environment. During each of the sixteen sessions, mentors reinforce how to avoid and resist the pressure to engage in risky behaviors. But, most of all, peer mentoring is FUN!
Recruitment of new mentors begins in the fall. Students in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades who want to have fun, enjoy being with peers, and can devote up to three hours a week to the program during the school year should apply. Application forms are available in the classrooms of mentoring advisors (school staff members who volunteer to supervise the program). Potential mentors complete an application, obtain adult recommendations, participate in a one-on-one interview with the Program Coordinator, and attend a 5-7 hour training to equip them for their role as a mentor.
Mentoring sessions are youth-led and youth-driven. Adult advisors and the Program Coordinator are there to offer support. Each mentoring session lasts about an hour and a half. During that time, mentors and protégés (middle school students) participate in icebreakers, energizers, and other activities, and discuss the topic of the day. The first three sessions each year are devoted to youth getting to know each other and building trust in the group. Beginning with the fourth meeting, same gender mentors and protégés are matched and part of each session allows the pair to spend time discussing the topic of the day, playing a game, or just chatting. One-on-one time is supervised by the adults present. After each session, mentors and adults stay for a brief meeting designed to critique the meeting just completed and to plan the next week’s session.
Peer mentoring provides high school students with more than 30 hours of hands-on leadership training and community service during the school year.
Creating a sense of belonging is an important element of mentoring. Students, who often do not feel a connection to their school, their classmates, or to their instructors, have found somewhere to belong. They find friendship; they find support; they find someone who listens; they find others who are striving to make healthy choices; and they find somewhere they feel free to be themselves, without being judged. Through mentoring, protégés gain the opportunity to learn from and bond with older students. They gain positive role models.
Are you interested in being a mentor? Would you like to have a mentor?
Contact us at: FNL@chemicalpeople.org