Sophie Noel wants to be an astronaut, Alma Ortiz-Sawaya is eyeing a career as a writer and Binbu Kromah sees college as the best place for her to figure out what she wants to do with her life.
All three sophomores at Girls Athletic Leadership School — or GALS — in Denver are getting help achieving their lofty goals thanks to a decision by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to expand its mentor2.0 program. GALS and Englewood High School each are introducing mentor2.0 during their 2018-2019 school year. Every single sophomore at GALS, an all-girl public school, will have a college-educated adult mentor through the first year of post-secondary education.
“That’s especially important because … many of these girls have never been to college, so having someone to go to for questions about the college experience will be invaluable and helpful toward their success,” said Jen Derosby, assistant principal of programming at GALS.
Launched in Colorado at Sheridan High School in 2015, mentor2.0 is a technology enhanced mentoring program that ensures high school students in low-income communities have the socioeconomic skills and support needed to graduate high school and be prepared for post-secondary education and the workforce.
Big Brothers Big Sisters decided to expand into GALS since girls from low-income families face bigger obstacles toward getting a high school degree and moving on to college, said Dave Ryan, CEO for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. One in every six girls in Colorado fails to earn her high school diploma in four years, and the numbers are worse for girls of color, Ryan said.
“If education is to continue to be the lever for upward mobility and success, more must be done to improve the depth and quality of support that every student receives from high school through college completion,” Ryan said.
About 56 percent of students at GALS qualify for free or reduced lunches.
The program is already working for the three GALS sophomores, who rely on their mentors to give them on-the-ground advice on how to seek a career and apply to college.
“It’s real-world guidance and it makes things a little less scary,” said Kromah, whose mentor is in the medical field. “I feel like they really care. They sit you down and take you through things step by step.’”
Ortiz-Sawaya, whose father is a lawyer, still gets valuable advice from her mentor, who is also an attorney. She’s younger than Ortiz-Sawaya’s dad, so she knows a little more “about how tough it is to get started in life,” the aspiring writer said.
Most of the GALS mentors are women, but Noel wanted a male mentor because she is growing up in an all-female household and wanted the insights from a male professional.
“I never knew my dad, so I just felt it would be a good idea to get the perspective of a man,” Noel said. “I just thought that would be important.”
Note from WSOE.Org : This content has been auto-generated from a syndicated feed.