Student-centric mentoring

More than 20 SVSU students are serving as mentors for male students in the Saginaw Public Schools through the Centric Program.

“I think it’s good for kids in underprivileged urban areas to see someone who’s doing something good … as far as going to college and showing them what they can do,” mentor and business management senior Jason Washington said.

The Saginaw Public School District was one of four districts to receive a $2.47 million grant from the Michigan Department of Education for the Centric Program.

The grant enables districts to increase the use of personalized teaching methods to improve learning and outcomes and close achievement gaps in reading and math.

The program has an initial focus on African-American young men, as the Department of Education found they are Michigan’s persistently lowest achieving student group.

 “I really hope all the mentors, myself included, can inspire the students (in the program) to not necessarily go to college, but to further their education somehow and to want to do something greater,” Washington said.

Terry Pruitt, manager for the Centric Program, said mentors work not only as academic tutors but also as behavioral role models.

“The mentors are much closer (than staff members to) the age of the students, thus they have an ability to relate to our students and speak their language,” Pruitt said.

Mentor and exercise science sophomore Allante Gardner, who learned about the program through an on-campus Bible study, said he already formed bonds with some of the students.

“I really care about kids (in the program),” Gardner said. “I want to help each and every one them get great grades … and learn to behave themselves.”

The Centric Program offers students a variety of other opportunities including community service projects, college visits and reading groups focused on texts about overcoming personal and academic challenges.

Additionally, an incentive program will reward students for participation in the program with iPads or laptops and an invitation for a field trip to Washington, D.C.

Career Services Director Mike Major helped coordinate the partnership between SVSU and Saginaw Public Schools.

Major said district consultant Kevin Gregory approached SVSU about participating in the program. Career Services then posted the opportunity on the Cardinal Career Network, hosted interviews and training and helped with employment paperwork.

“The experience of being a mentor has some challenges,” Gardner said. “You have those kids who don’t want to really listen to you … (but) I gained some bonds and formed relationships with them. I feel like I’m a big brother to some of them and I feel like the kids think that, too… There’s no other experience like it.”

Pruitt and Major agree the partnership is beneficial for all involved.

“All of the mentors are demonstrating great enthusiasm about the work we are doing with the boys and their willingness to aid the cause,” Pruitt said.

 “It really shows the best of SVSU getting out into the community and making a positive difference,” Major added.

This entry was posted on Monday, March 16th, 2015 and is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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