YWCA Programs Focus on Mentoring Middle School Students
Many adults remember their 7th grade selves as being a bit unsure, caught awkwardly between childhood and adulthood. If this sounds like you in 7th grade, imagine yourself at that age again, but at your side is a college athlete, ready to help you walk through some of those tricky middle school moments. Mentoring middle school students is the focus of two important programs at YWCA St. Joseph: CHOICES and DECISIONS.
The CHOICES and DECISIONS programs, created for at-risk 7th grade girls and boys, respectively, pair students with athletes from Missouri Western State University. The students are from four of the area middle schools: Bode, Robidoux, Truman and Spring Garden.
The eight-week life skills course is designed for mentoring middle school students with a core application: the ability to make good decisions, both during middle school and as they progress through high school and into adult life.
Topics covered in the program sound like familiar areas to anyone who’s ever been a middle school student: peer pressure, bullying and the social decisions around interactions with the opposite sex. These topics can be difficult to discuss and the implications of a wrong decision can stretch far beyond the immediate situation.
The college athletes that participate by mentoring middle school students bring a lot of value to the program. Their energy, work ethic and history of making positive life decisions serve as a model to the students. In addition, the middle school students look up to the athletes because of their status and their relatability in their position of being just a bit older than them. The athletes are in a perfect position to be positive role models to students.
At the end of the eight-week curriculum, the students and athletes celebrate with a pizza party and a tour of the Missouri Western State University campus.
The program is just one way that YWCA St. Joseph is reaching out to youth to let them know that their community cares about them and their future. It helps boost their self -esteem and trains them to make healthy decisions for a positive transition into high school and adulthood.
For more information about CHOICES and DECISIONS, or to learn about any of the other programs by YWCA St. Joseph, contact us today!