Mentoring Program for High School Students – Milestone Celebration at SMA

This post was originally published in 2012. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

“Have you already finished your English homework?”, I ask my mentee. It is half past four on Monday. As usual, we have met for a cup of hot chocolate or a scoop of ice cream. We discuss what is being covered in classes, or we prepare internship applications. Why do we do this? We are both members of the “MENSCH – Mentoring für Schüler” (MENSCH – student mentoring) program, which assists students in need of support in the development of a career path.

But let's get back to the English homework. My mentee – let's just call her Paula – doesn't have anyone at home to help her with her homework, practice vocabulary lists with her or to encourage her after receiving a poor grade. Furthermore, she has to deal with a completely different set of problems in her surroundings than I ever had to deal with at her age – fear and violence were never an issue for me. And at the tender age of 13, Paula, just like her peers, doesn't feel much like spending time writing applications or thinking about the future. This is where the Jumpers e. V. mentoring program comes in.

Workshops help to learn more about applications

Workshops help to learn more about applications

Mentoring Program for High School Students

The association guides high school students, who are about to graduate, for a period of 16 months. The program is made up of various building blocks: In workshops the kids learn all about applications and their own skills. During an internship, they are then able to prove these skills in practice. Special tutoring offers help students to reach their goals in class. Mentors form a second building block: Colleagues working at SMA or other companies in North Hesse are assigned a single student to assist, support and mentor. For me that means that I meet with Paula every two weeks to motivate her and to help her develop prospects for the future. Sometimes all I have to do is lend a listening ear. After a slow and reserved start, it was nice to see Paula gaining more and more trust in me, and it was clear that she enjoyed knowing that someone was setting time aside to spend with her.

Thanks to all mentors

Thanks to all mentors

Reveling in Success – the Milestone Celebration

The mentoring concept is a hit with the students; quite a few of them are already showing signs of higher motivation. And even when it is at times tough to put oneself in the shoes of a 13 year old, I am learning a great deal as well as a mentor. If problems or questions arise, I can contact the Jumpers team at any time. By the way, the program was recently awarded the “Bernhard-Vogel-Bildungspreis” (Bernhard-Vogel award for education) by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. The prize is awarded to projects which focus on children and youth and encourage them to assume responsibility for themselves and for society.

Last Wednesday was the day. To celebrate our first success cases, the milestone celebration was held at SMA. After the first four months, organizers had invited all mentees from the IGS Kaufungen School along with their parents, mentors and teachers. After a tour and a ceremony to honor of the best interns, there was time to mingle.