Lodestar Mentoring Program
1. archaic : a star that leads or guides
2. : one that serves as an inspiration, model or guide
"The privilege of a lifetime is becoming who you are."
- Joseph Campbell
Seniors, beginning in the fall, will mentor an 8th grader during the year with the lofty goal of assisting them to find awareness of careers, academic paths or vocational paths that are bigger and beyond themselves, but that they are attracted to intellectually, spiritually, or both, and help them explore. To create a lasting impact on the student, the professional volunteer will show and demonstrate his occupation, and engage in actual work with the middle-schooler and their mentor. Almost more importantly, the professional will also show the students the lifestyle that accompanies that career - and the rewards of consistency in any career path.
The middle schooler has an opportunity to receive guidance from someone senior in their peer group, (no pun intended), and gain some pragmatic perspective on their work interests and opportunities so that they can make more informed decisions about their direction as they enter high school. They also gain a confidant that they can feel is outside of their traditional school/parent structure.
The senior will assist the 8th-grader research, schedule and prepare questions for informational interviews with professionals who actually do the work the 8th-graders are drawn to. Both students will learn that perhaps you do not have to love your job, (though some lucky few do), you just have to like it a lot and know why you are doing it. Being drawn to a vocation at a deeper level leads to more organic success and meaning, and can help navigate both students to a more authentic and exploratory attitude towards their academic career as well as potential employment and lifestyles in general. The 8th-graders that participate will be nominated by teachers and will have expressed that they are engaged and receptive to a mentoring relationship.
The senior has an incredible opportunity to take a look backward, remember what it was like about to venture into high school, and genuinely help someone else to ready themselves for the next step in their journey. It is helpful to look back and remember where one has been and be in the role of a teacher before becoming a college student. The purpose of the program is to give the students in Portland Public Schools a peer-to-peer solution to developing increased self-confidence and self-acceptance of who they are individually; to believe in their own inner voice and untapped potential and assist each other in getting there!
So how does it work?
Seniors are trained as juniors to to be mentors, then...
"In eighth grade, kids experience a massive boost in brain growth that results in enhanced abilities in problem solving, deductive reasoning, abstract thinking, strategic planning, and impulse control." (Pellissier, Great Schools). The path to high school is daunting, and 8th graders often feel, “I am very deep, sensitive, and aware. But no one understands me.”
High school seniors experience a similar dilemma in the transition from high school to college or other alternative plan. They are learning to be more independent and need to develop problem-solving skills for themselves and for their future ambitions.
Both students are fast approaching a new world and will have many important decisions to make. Seniors can bolster the 8th grader's individual identity and confidence - giving them someone in their peer group they can relate to without consequence. The 8th graders respect the 12th graders and a more quality trust bond is possible. The eighth-grader can remind the senior of his significant accomplishments and allow him or her to teach the success principles that they learn the previous year in their entrepreneur training.
**The aspiration of this program is for the 8th grader to learn authentically about who he or she is, what kind of lifestyle they aspire to, and connect their enthusiasm with practical and pragmatic career paths. The senior assists them in broadening their perspective on career opportunities as well as what kind of lifestyle one can gain from that career. Most importantly it gives them a peer ally, and potentially insight into their crucial next steps, helping them make more confident decisions about their future - decisions that feel like them, and are in line with their values, ambitions and limitations.
More awareness leads to more opportunities!
The key is to assist both mentor and mentee in finding autonomy to explore their hopes and dreams through experience with successful professionals, realizing success means a healthy and well balanced lifestyle based on your personal and professional values. Assisting each other can greatly amplify clarity as to what it is that one really wants to try and do well in this world.
training the mentor
The Real Meaning of the word "Entrepreneur"
To be “trained” for this mentorship, the senior will have taken a class as a junior called The Real Meaning of the Word "Entrepreneur". This class focuses on the fact that most entrepreneurs are not “disruptors of industry”. They are people passionate about their work, have a strong ethic and truly understand what quality customer service is and learn to deeply value those they serve.
More importantly, the goal of this 6-week class is to have them discover and explore their "why; what kind of works makes them excited to get out of bed in the morning? What really makes their imagination tick? An entrepreneur must have have a vision - but they also must know how to adapt to chaotic changes - all done in an effort to satisfy what one authentically believes in - values and all.
Juniors will apply to the class and subsequent mentoring program by submitting an essay or video detailing why they are the right candidate for the program. 8th graders may be identified through teacher recommendations, and volunteers.
Locating professionals (with assistance), and introducing the program and setting up the meeting for themselves and their assigned eighth-grader. Professional materials will be provided to the senior.
Assisting the eighth-grader in researching the profession and help them come up with questions to ask.
Editing the eighth-grader's essay or video for each interview and producing a 1-page or 1-minute video (minimum) about that interview and in writing a thank you note from the team to the professional.
Uploading the essays and/or video from both participants onto the Lodestar Experiential website for personal and public access to the work.
Checking in with the eighth-grader over the summer to ensure they do not have any questions or concerns the Senoir may be able to assist them with.