Marianna Jordan ’09 Creates Mentoring Program for Lawrence Boys and Girls Club

Marianna Jordan ’09 intends to help rising high schoolers from the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club with a mentoring program she has developed. Jordan created the new mentoring system after conducting case studies with nearby colleges, talking with representatives from the Big Brother Big Sister Initiative and observing members of the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club. Jordan said, “[My system] really works to help mentor students who are in the transition from middle school to high school and to try to start them off on the right foot in high school.” Jordan presented the results of her case studies and her new mentoring system in a Public Service Scholar Presentation called “Who Made You Who You Are? The Power and Practice of Mentoring Youth,” in Kemper on Wednesday. The Lawrence Boys and Girls Club, serving over 4,000 members total and with over 160 elementary and middle school children attending its after-school program, required an effective way to create a trusting environment in its homework help room. Jordan suggested enhancing the mentoring aspect of the club program, in addition to the current tutoring component, to better utilize the club’s resources and over 100 volunteers. Jordan conducted her research on mentoring programs over the summer and, after completing her project, presented it to the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club. In Jordan’s words, a mentor is “a caring individual with whom you have a structured and trusting relationship.” A mentor, said Jordan, built a sense of continuity, trust, resourcefulness and flexibility with his or her mentee. Another essential aspect for mentoring, said Jordan, is the proper pairing between mentor and mentee. Annie Heindel, a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization and former teaching fellow at PA, said, “It’s extremely important to make appropriate mentoring student pairings. Now in my work with Big Brothers, [I] train mentors and help match up mentors with students.” Jordan also proposed, after analyzing her results, that the club hire a staff member solely to help foster mentoring relationships. But the Lawrence Boys and Girls club was unable to hire a dedicated staff member due to recent budget cuts. The club has seen a 15 percent decrease in the number of families able to pay the club’s $20 annual fee. In spite of the setback, the club has been working to integrate Jordan’s research results into their volunteer program. Jordan said that she hopes to volunteer this summer and help with mentoring students at the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club. Chad Green, Director of Community Service, said, “Marianna’s project was one of the more successful [Public Service Projects] in terms of the outcomes and having a finished product, the observations she determined, from all the work that she did over the course of the summer.” Jordan also tried to show the importance of mentoring at Phillips Academy. Jordan was able to learn from her experience with PALS, an outreach enrichment program that pairs Phillips Academy students with disadvantaged youth from Lawrence schools. Jordan explained how volunteers in PALS work on a one-on-one basis with students for over two years, resulting in a strong relationship between the pair. Jordan said that she hoped study centers, advisors and tutors at Andover could incorporate her observations to improve PA’s mentoring program. Eliza Cambell ’09 said, “I found it was interesting how [Jordan] talked about the role that mentoring plays in troubled communities, and what difference that can make especially with getting in to high school and then college.” Tori Wilmarth ’09 said, “I think that it is important to remember how we as PA students and faculty support each other formally and informally, in clubs, advisor-advisee meetings and more.”