Harper-Archer Middle School’s (HAMS) counseling department and Communities in Schools (CIS) of Atlanta have joined forces to provide over 30 Harper-Archer students with tutorial and social support during the school day. This additional support comes in the form of the newly formed HAMS Mentoring Program, created by Lamar J. Young, guidance counselor, and Joi Fuller, a CIS of Atlanta graduation coach.
Spelman College, Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter College students, as well as Jackson Memorial Baptist Church members, Harper-Archer teachers, fraternity and community members were recruited and screened based on their patience, commitment, reliability and ability to listen. Many answered the call to serve and have since banded together to support HAMS “reclaim excellence.”
Since hosting HAMS’ first “Meet & Greet” on Nov. 11 — where students participated in several ice breakers, exchanged meeting schedules and reviewed the policy manual — mentors have provided weekly support both in and out of the classroom. On Dec. 4, 2009, a small group visited the Truly Living Well Urban farm in East Point. Mentees tended to the vegetable garden, laid mulch, provided organic fertilizer and removed weeds.
On any given day, HAMS mentees call upon their mentors to wear many hats, some of which include career counselor or peer mediator. Whatever the day calls for, HAMS mentees appreciate the time given to listen, give sound advice provided by their mentors. In addition to these figurative hats, the male component of the mentoring program has their own blue polo shirts that are worn during special school related events. Young believes that this instills a sense of brotherhood and communal pride.
Eighth-grader Briana Scott said her mentor, Amanda McIntosh (a Spelman College student and Morehouse cheerleader), “is beneficial because she’s been helping me pass social studies and giving me ideas for projects and preparing to become a lawyer.” Stephanie Purvis, teacher and eighth-grade mentor, signed on to “be a positive role model of womanhood.” Since joining the program, Purvis is greeted daily and has developed a “positive and loving relationship” with her mentee, Shakita Baker. She makes it a point to check in with her mentee every morning before the school’s SFA program begins.
A College Shadow Day and Honors Recognition are just a few upcoming activities for the 2009-2010 HAMS Mentoring Program. Harper-Archer is excited about the prospects this program has and looks forward to its continued implementation in the upcoming school years.