Youth mentorship Programs
Twi language, Ghana, Africa
Translation: "Go back and get"
Project Optimism created and directs free mentorship programs for 4th-12th grade students. In the program youth have access to mentors who are college students and young professionals of color. The program includes character building workshops, outings, and days of service.
The Project Optimism founders developed this program because they saw that youth needed positive role models in their community that looked like them. The lack of financial resources paired with the institutionalized opportunity gaps for ethnic minorities produces communities that are stagnant. The solution is to, to provide these children and families access to valuable services and opportunities that will allow them to construct a life, and larger community that is flourishing.
Once again, a unique characteristic of Project Optimism's youth programs, is its emphasis on providing youth of color access to college students and young professionals of color. There is nothing more impactful than seeing someone who looks like you accomplishing goals, excelling at life, and coming back to the community to lift others up. The workshop curriculum is based in the SEARCH Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets framework. These developmental assets have been proven, through wide and extensive research, to be the key components that determine positive youth development in adolescents (Benson et al., 2011, p.201-202). Therefore mentorship workshops focus on the following 8 categories:
Anticipated Outcomes for the Project Optimism Mentees:
• Improved self-awareness
• Improved problem-solving, anger management, and resilience.
• Decrease in out-of-school suspensions and expulsions, chronic truancy and absence, and high-risk behaviors such as substance abuse and gang affiliation