Temple Student Government created a new high school mentorship program to build a relationship with high school students in the North-Central Philadelphia area.
Temple students will serve as mentors, helping high school students prepare for college and apply. Local and Community Affairs Director Leonard Chester wants the program to allow Temple University to be a resource for the youth.
“We really just wanted to create a platform where we provide our kids, our youth, with resources and tools to further their education,” Chester says.
Temple’s Student Government partnered with the Advocate Center, where the program will be held. Due to the Advocate Center’s ongoing work in the community, Chester thought the Center would be perfect for this program.
“They have done historically great work in the North Philadelphia community. When I think about North Philadelphia now and North Philadelphia community work, I think about the Advocate Church and then I also think about the Advocate Center,” Chester says.
Advocate Center Executive Director Adia Harmon says the Center is passionate about providing a safe space for students as well as bringing access and exposure to them. Harmon adds the Center is happy to partner with organizations for a program like this.
“It’s not too early to start building your network. So, having a strong solid mentor in your life who just not only serves as a sounding board but to also to encourage you and inspire you – and to also learn from you as a high school student is pretty empowering,” Harmon says.
The mentorship program does more than provide assistance with college applications. It gives high school students someone to look up to, like a big brother or sister. Temple student Dilvany Arredondo says she feels like more of a big sister to her mentee.
“I try to guide the conversation to something meaningful. I’ll ask her about her grades. I’ll ask her about her outside relationships,” Arredondo says.
Arredondo says many mentees feel disconnected with the Temple community. She hopes this program will allow high schools students to feel more comfortable and welcomed around Temple students.
Although this program ends towards the end of this spring semester, mentors and mentees still plan to keep in touch. The current administration hopes the next administration will keep the program going for the fall.