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In 2001 staff at Lawrence Intermediate School, who were participating in StrengthBuilding Training & Coaching, identified the need for a mentoring program for their students. In response to this need, StrengthBuilding Partners (SBP) began meeting with members of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe (PYT). A partnership was created with a common goal of creating a mentoring program that would impact the students at Johnson Primary and Lawrence Intermediate Schools. SBP began searching for funding and in October 2002 was awarded a grant from the Governor’s Division of Drug Policy through a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Title IV Program through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The SBP Mentoring Program was created, cementing the partnership between SBP, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Johnson Primary and Lawrence Intermediate Schools as they worked together to develop a successful mentoring program. In 2009 SBP and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe expanded its partnership to include youth referred to the mentoring program through the Sewa Uusim Systems of Care Program of the PYT Health Department.

The emphasis of the program is on a supportive, caring experience, and the development of a trusting relationship over time. The child is given undivided attention, and the focus is on his/her thoughts, feelings and dreams.

Mission

The overall mission of the SBP Mentoring Program is to provide an innovative, school-based mentoring program through a unique collaboration between the schools and SBP, a community based non–profit organization. The program is specifically for first through eighth grade children with the greatest need. We are committed to evaluate its effectiveness through a rigorous evaluation process.

Goals and Outcomes

The goals of the program are:

  • to provide general guidance;
    to increase participation in, and enhance the ability to benefit from, elementary and secondary education;
    to encourage the setting of goals and planning for the future, including encouragement of graduation from secondary school and planning for postsecondary education or training.

The outcome of the program is an increased number of youth graduating from high school and, moving on to college or other types of training that will prepare them to be productive and successful citizens.

The Program

The StrengthBuilding Partners Mentoring Program is currently in operation at Lawrence Intermediate and Valencia Middle School as well as various surrounding schools which the Sewa Uusim mentees attend. Group activities and community projects, facilitated by StrengthBuilding Partners, as well as one to one visitation take place on a weekly basis at Lawrence and Valencia.

In 2012, in collaboration with the University of Arizona-Southwest Institute for Research on Women (UA-SIROW), the SBP Mentoring Program began its newest undertaking: the iSTEM Project. This three year pro­gram, funded by the National Science Foundation, will end in May of 2015. The goal of the project is to provide opportunities for the mentees to explore STEM activities and career opportunities with an added objective of fostering continued education through high school and post- secondary endeavors. The iSTEM project provides activity kits for the in-school mentoring sessions and field trips, organized by the UA, that further illustrate and enhance the activities completed by the mentee/mentor pairs.

Mentors are recruited from the community, the University of Arizona and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. Caring adults are always being sought for the Mentoring Program. The primary requirement is a desire to help a student grow in his or her self-esteem, confidence and feeling of self-worth.

Celebrating Mentoring

At the close of each academic year SBP staff and mentees plan a celebration in honor of the successful completion of a year of mentoring and service. The celebration has been an annual community event since 2003. Bringing together mentors, mentees, parents, school staff, tribal representatives and other community members, the event has changed in its appearance based upon the wishes of the mentees. Since 2010, the event, the Festival of Stars Ice Cream Socials, takes place at each school during the school day. Everyone associated with the Mentoring Program is welcome to join us as mentors and mentees celebrate their relationships!

Funding

The program, which began in 2002, has been re-funded twice by a grant from the Governor’s Division of Drug Policy through a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Title IV Program through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Federal Grants from the Department of Education, Title I funds from Tucson Unified School District (TUSD), funds from the Pascua Yaqui Tribe (PYT), funding through the National Science Foundation grant and the fundraising efforts of StrengthBuilding Partners. Key to the program is the in-kind contributions from TUSD and the generosity of the PYT who allows tribal employees to use paid time to volunteer in the schools.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor or making a donation of items, food or money for the Mentoring Program, please contact Marie Stickford, Mentoring Program Coordinator at 520-404-6275.

News Flash 2012

In collaboration with the University of Arizona- Southwest Institute for Research on Women (UA-SIROW), the SBP Mentoring Program is beginning its newest undertaking: the iSTEM Project. This three year program, funded by the National Science Foundation, will continue SBP’s work matching mentors and mentees grades 3 to 8 who will learn together about various science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) topics. The iSTEM project will provide activity kits for the in-school mentoring sessions and field trips, organized by the UA, that will further illustrate and enhance the activities completed by the mentee/mentor pairs. The goal of the project is to provide opportunities for the mentees to explore STEM activities and career opportunities with an added objective of fostering continued education through high school and post secondary endeavors.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor contact Marie Stickford, Mentoring Program Coordinator at 520-404-6275.