Mentors provide SFUSD students with extra boost of confidence 

click to enlarge Mentoring for Success helps schools give individual attention to students who have a tough time being successful at school. - CINDY CHEW/2008 S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • Mentoring for Success helps schools give individual attention to students who have a tough time being successful at school.

Everyone knows that teachers, nurses, counselors, custodians, and principals put in long days at work.

But did you know that right now 650 San Francisco Unified School District staffers are dedicating extra time to serve as mentors to children?

In honor of national mentoring month, I want to share a few words about just a few of our own SFUSD staff who are serving as mentors.

Putting in the time

Kathy Babcock is a school district nurse. Many years ago, she took one student under her wing at an elementary school, and now, as her mentor, she meets with her every Monday, and attends her school activities. Babcock maintains a relationship with the student's family and helps them sort out what is needed for her education.

Cesar Flores is a student adviser who has been mentoring for six years at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. Flores is always available for his mentee and spends countless hours working with him while supporting all of his students, which includes food donations, shoes, and more services when they need it.

Kim Anderson, a Special Education teacher at Fairmount Elementary School, is a consistent, solid support for her mentee of three years. She has built relationships with the student's family and celebrates the student's successes and strengths.

Mika Moore is a special-education teacher at Everett Middle School who always goes the extra mile for the student she mentors. A while back, she volunteered to bake sugar cookies for a special event for her student. At 9 the night before, she went to the store to get the sprinkles, all with a smile on her face.

Teacher Debra Johnson at Carver Elementary School is a warm, nonjudgmental, accepting, and thoughtful presence for her mentee. Johnson constantly finds fun things to do with her.

Andrea Haun is a school district nurse who mentors a student in need of a lot of support.  Through play, she has helped her mentee grow in confidence, and works hard to make her feel special.

Mentoring for Success

A program SFUSD staff started called Mentoring for Success helps train and support these and hundreds of other mentoring relationships. With these mentoring pairs students who have a tough time are getting more individual attention do they can be more successful in school and in life.

In essence, all kids need caring adults with skills to help them through strong relationships.

Does it work?

You might be thinking that this is all nice, but why do we spend so much time doing it? Because we're educators, and we want all our kids to do well in school. Right now, 45 percent of middle and high school mentees improved their grade point average. In elementary school, 46 percent have improved their school attendance.

It would take a years worth of newspapers to describe all of the amazing mentors working with San Francisco's youth.

If you know someone who is mentoring, please take time to thank them. If you would like to mentor a child, find out how at the<>;

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