Imagine what could happen if young people were not only reached but then equipped to turn and impact the lives of younger students in their community. Imagine the power of a young person who has seen his or her own life make a difference in another person’s life. This is the secret behind a program called “Velocity” that Boy With Ball brought to Atlanta this past month.
Boy With a Ball’s Velocity cross-age mentoring program was launched at Maynard H. Jackson High School and the New Schools at Carver on February 18. The program’s central activities are weekly after-school times from 3:35 pm to 5:00 pm on Tuesdays at MHJHS and at the same times on Thursdays at Carver.
Velocity comes from the C.A.M.P (Cross Age Mentoring Program) designed by mentoring expert, Dr. Michael Karcher, who teamed with Boy With a Ball to implement the program at Harlandale High School in San Antonio, Texas in January of 2011. In its first year, Velocity recruits a group of 40 high school students and utilizes a highly-effective training curriculum to prepare these students to be mentors for middle school students. Once trained, each high school mentor is paired with one middle school mentee for an entire school year that includes participating in an after school program once a week together. Mentoring takes place within a flow of exciting activities, snacks and relational interaction.
One of the secrets to Velocity’s impact on students is that it is also built around engaging the students’ families with home visits by staff and quarterly Super Saturday festivals that invite the mentors, mentees and their parents to a day of fun and friendship. In San Antonio, Velocity invited a group of 40 high school students to be mentors out of a 9th grade class of over 900 students. Now, three years later, all 40 of the Velocity mentors are graduating, while only 325 of the rest of their class will do so. This success has drawn dramatic attention in San Antonio and has encouraged Boy With a Ball San Antonio to now expand the program into McCollum High School with hopes to scale the program citywide.
The following weeks will involve Boy With a Ball Atlanta staff and volunteers to continue drawing in more students at the two Atlanta high schools to reach the 40 student mark at both schools. As students join, they will spend the rest of this semester training to be ready to be assigned their mentee at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.
If you would like to hear more about Boy With a Ball Atlanta or Boy With a Ball San Antonio’s Velocity program, or to offer your time or donations to help it succeed, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Boy With a Ball Atlanta is currently raising the funds necessary to see this program established so that it can be expanded to other schools in desperate need of programs like this that can help students not only graduate from high school but to go onto reach their dreams.