In a community where our youth struggle to graduate from high school, Big Brothers Big has launched a new, innovative program called mentor2.0 that will move the needle on graduation rates. Mentor2.0 is a national partnership between Big Brothers Big Sisters and iMentor. Mentor2.0 is a proven model for college readiness for high schools that includes curriculum, technology, and mentoring. In New Mexico, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico is the pilot agency for the program. The agency completed its inaugural year during the 2013-14 school year, and is starting the second year of the program.
In this program, students enroll in a weekly mentor2.0 class which is facilitated by Big Brothers Big Sisters. They are matched one-to-one with adult mentors who engage with them via weekly e-mails and monthly in-person match meetings. Students receive weekly classroom instruction and discussion on non-cognitive factors that build their ability to overcome obstacles, plan for the future, succeed in school, and get ready for college. Volunteers and students receive consistent support from the professional staff.
In the first year of the program, Big Brothers Big Sisters and its high school partners, South Valley Academy and Amy Biehl High School, have seen enormous improvement in the non-cognitive skills of their students. Richard is an example of one such student:
Richard started his freshman year at Amy Biehl High School [ABHS] and immediately struggled to maintain a passing GPA. He was feeling isolated and depressed which he confided in his mentor. They discussed the non-cognitive skills presented in the mentor2.0 curriculum, and applied them to his everyday life. Richard persevered through this difficult time, and emerged stronger than ever. By the end of the school year, Richard’s grades had improved and he had a new set of skills that he feels confident in using.
Richard sums up his experience in the following way: “My mentor really helped me with my personal issues and grades this year. He motivated me by telling me that I can do better in school, and I did! “
Big Brothers Big Sisters provided the mentor2.0 program to 169 students at two high schools, Amy Biehl High School and South Valley Academy. In 2014-15, there will be 350 students enrolled in the program – all of the freshman and sophomore classes. In coming years, the agency will continue to enroll youth at both schools until 100% of the students have a mentor. Big Brothers Big Sisters is also exploring expansion to additional schools.
To support this program, hundreds of volunteers stepped forward as mentors, from many companies in our community including: UNM, Sandia National Labs, PNM, the City of ABQ, CBRE, and many more. Big Brothers Big Sisters welcomes companies and individuals to become involved as volunteers and donors in this revolutionary program.