Reach Out! A center linking UM mentors with children and teens

Reach Out! Elementary Program Plan

2004–2005 Plan prepared by Reach Out! Site Leaders and staff


What are the needs of our elementary children?

Reliable and consistent relationship with a caring adult
Positive role model
Praise and affirmation of their worth and value
Confidence in ability to learn and be a “good student”
Help with basic skill holes and gaps
Personally experiencing joy in learning, reading, doing science and projects related to their special interests
Help to explore personal interests, develop talents, gain self-worth


What resources do we have available to meet these needs?

In our organization
Teachers, counselors, nurse, social workers, Title I teacher, ESL teachers
Public housing sites
Rooms for club and mentoring meetings, training, family events
Business, Kiwanis, Rotary
Often provide admission to events and museums.
May provide some funding for consumable materials.
Broader community
UM and EMU provide access to athletic and musical events.
Many parks in area for outings, projects.


What are our goals, target populations, and desired outcomes?

Goal: One-on-One, Pair, and Small-Group Intentional Mentoring

Match 1–4 children with their own mentor
Mentors see children at least once a week, interact with teachers and support staff at least monthly, make at least 1 home visit per semester, have lunch at school with children and see teachers at least 1 time a semester, and do some outing or field trip at least 1 time a semester.
Mentors will call their children the night before club to remind them and may have opportunity to talk to parent/guardian.
Depending on the site, we will provide homework help, reading and writing support, basic math skills support, and hands-on science projects.

Desired Outcomes

Outcomes include: regular attendance by mentors and children. Mentor and child surveys to capture perceptions of value for clubs/mentoring: rank enjoyment of mentor/mentee relationships, enjoyment of particular activities and projects, heightened confidence in ability to learn, greater success in completing homework and assignments.


How does our program incorporate research about best practices?

Reach Out! One-on-One, Pair, and Small-Group Intentional Mentoring

Research: Mentoring addresses issues and needs of children, including school performance, holes and gaps in basic skills, emotional growth and behavioral choices, sense of worth and value, core beliefs about abilities to succeed academically.
Many parents cannot help their children with school work and homework, but mentors can.


How do our programs at the elementary level fit in with other existing programs?

Each public housing site has a coordinator to oversee after-school programs. We work with them to arrange clubs and mentoring, to gather permission and registration forms, to plan and provide family field trips and outings, to plan and implement celebration and recognition events.
Several sites also provide homework help and reading for enjoyment projects. Our mentors will reinforce these programs and utilize their methods and materials. We will also share our training and materials with them to use on days we are not there.


What capabilities do we need to change or add to increase quality of relationships among mentors, children, teachers and parents?

All sites will assign mentors to individuals, pairs, or small groups of children to enhance relationships, sharing of training, and offering programs, family events, and outings/field trips.
Site leaders will interact more with coordinators to unite efforts with children and parents. We can share our professional development and training, our resources in the community and universities, field trips and outings.
Site leaders will meet with principals and teachers of feeder elementary schools to share our programs, to give list of children we serve, and to provide teachers and mentors respective contact information to foster more communications and sharing of ideas.
Without a paid Elementary Coordinator, site leaders will need to maintain databases, files of registrations and field trip permission forms, conduct mentor orientations, gather and record end of semester survey information, arrange for and implement field trips and outings, arrange for and implement recognition events, and be contact person for their elementary school principal and staff. Site leaders will be responsible for recruiting new mentors at FestiFall, Serve It Up, NorthFest, presentations to professors and classes, presentations to student organizations. Site leaders may pay for some materials out of pocket, borrow equipment and materials kept at Scarlett Reach Out! resource room, and use some funding left in student account. Director will provide monthly site leader meetings to offer support and professional development; will try to provide copies of orientation handbooks, other PD and training handouts; will copy and provide mentor and child registration forms. Site leaders will need to copy lessons, outing/field trip flyers and permission forms.


How will these capabilities be carried out?

Changes to Program for 2004–2005

Hikone and Pinelake sites will continue with returning Site Leaders.
We will no longer be at Pattengill Elementary. Three different principals in 2 years, changes in staff, and coordinator’s leave all contributed to a decline in quality programming and our ability to have mentoring for lunch-time science clubs.
Should we garner funding for an Elementary Coordinator, the principal at Mitchell Elementary and her staff would like us to develop a mentoring and science club program with them. Mitchell feeds into Scarlett Middle School and is physically located next door. Its 4th and 5th graders will also be part of the Scarlett NASA Explorer School Program. Scarlett mentors and staff have also looked at our children being mentors for Mitchell children, sharing projects, outings, and community service projects. Research indicates that elementary children being mentored by middle schoolers often can radically improve reading and writing skills with book clubs and whole language approach programming.
Site Leaders and Director are interviewed mentors at various sites to identify new Site Leaders for fall. Professional development was planned during the summer and provided for all site leaders before classes began. Some sites may have a site leader for every 3 or 4 mentors and their children to handle the responsibilities required to make program most effective. We recognize that 4–5 hours a week is the limit that site leaders can invest without pay or stipend.


How will we assess the quality of our program, services, and relationships?

Surveys for mentors, children, and parents will be offered in December and April to gather information about perceptions of value for clubs/mentoring: enjoying relationships, enjoying particular activities and projects, heightened confidence in ability to learn, greater success in completing homework and assignments. Site leaders will need to enter survey data into database, and work with Director at monthly meeting to assess what we have learned, make program changes, adjust roles, define projects and services to improve mentoring. If we are able to hire an Elementary Coordinator, these roles would fall under her position.
Site leaders will need to maintain attendance records for all mentors and children.


How can we sustain the program, services, and relationships?

  All of these programs, services, and relationships from Reach Out! are based on volunteers, with the exception of the Director’s time for professional development, other training, and monthly Site Leader meetings.


How can we recognize and honor mentors and partners?

Our Site Leaders and current mentors need to examine how they wish they had been honored and recognized.
We currently submit nominations for Reach Out! and for leaders to the UM Ginsberg spring recognition event and to the Governor’s Service Awards annual spring event; seek honor cords for our graduating Site Leaders; and pay for plaques for graduating Site Leaders. Individual Site Leaders also recognize their mentors and partners by way of pizza parties, passing out certificates, and making framed photos for children and mentors to keep.
The Director also provides a dinner for all site leaders.
Each site hosts an end-of-semester recognition party.
We also place an ad listing all mentors’ names in The Michigan Daily and in The Ann Arbor News in January during National Mentoring Month.
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          Last updated 11 Sep 04