According to a release by the United Way, the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center recently conducted a study evaluating the first two years of the program and found that youth participating in the program made gains in eligibility for the Pittsburgh Promise among the criteria of attendance and GPA. The study reported that prior to participating in the mentoring program, 34 percent of program youth and 51 percent of comparison youth had GPA’s that qualified them for the Pittsburgh Promise. At the end of the program, the numbers increased to 57 and 55 percent respectively.
With the program’s growing success, Bethea said there is a need for more volunteers, especially African-American volunteers. He said last year 77 percent of its program’s mentees were African-Americans and only 15-20 percent of its mentors were African-American.
“Of course we would love to have more. We are working closer with the Urban League (of Greater Pittsburgh) to attain more Black mentors,” he said. “There are many in our community that talk about the plight of young people and where they are going. This (mentoring) is one avenue where adults can volunteer to plant a seed to encourage them to stay on the right path, and also be an example and model of how you can be a success and the importance of education.”
Along with the Urban League, organizations such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh, Communities in Schools, and Mt. Ararat Community Activity Center also partner with Be a Middle School Mentor to bring mentees and mentors together for a lasting relationship.
As for the program’s future, Bethea said they will continue to work with Pittsburgh Public Schools and the students to do whatever they can to have a positive effect on their education and in their lives.
For more information on Be a Middle School Mentor, visit www.beamiddleschoolmentor.org.
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