Big Littles with Big Dreams
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte kicks off mentoring program for Harding University High School
Charlotte, NC -- October 2016 -- Harding University High School includes some of the biggest “Littles” that participate in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte. These high school mentees, “Littles”, shared a room full of big dreams, as they waited for their mentors at the BBBSGC Mentor2.0 Freshmen kickoff at Harding this Wednesday.
Dreams like becoming a veterinarian, mechanic, marine biologist, nurse, composer, or owner of a bakery. Dreams like owning a farm house or a pool on the roof. When asked how they thought they would get there, nearly everyone hesitated. Because, as a Freshman in high school, who really knows?
Most of the students here don’t have someone to show them that path. Many of their parents did not go to college. “You were hand-picked,” says Assistant Principal Annissa Johnson-Anthony to the room full of teens. These are students identified with potential, but who need a push to help them realize their goals.
BBBSGC Mentor2.0 is a high school mentoring program through the school. Its core is a classroom curriculum that revolves around key professional skills that will help these students merge out of high school and into future success. It combines the class structure with a one-on-one mentor, picked to match their needs and interests. The mentors and mentees work on exercises outside of class that tie to class instruction.
When asked what the mentors might do for them the students only had a vague idea that they would be helpful. But the mentors have a clear vision of the support they can provide. “I’ve been through it, I know the challenges.” Another mentor pointed out “Their dreams will evolve. But figuring out college is scary, and I can help.”
During the Sophomore kickoff the prior week, an experienced pair Alison and Niza were excited to be back for year two. At the beginning of her first year, Niza had a hard time getting focused. She missed practices and tryouts for her favorite sport, soccer. But Alison motivated her, and grades improved throughout the year. “This year, I can already tell Niza is more focused on doing well in school and preparing for college.” Says mentor Alison. Niza’s smile and enthusiasm are infectious. She is emboldened with a newfound confidence, and she is already involved in extracurricular activities.
Bigs and Littles at Harding anticipate a year of making dreams come true, through valuable friendships and hard work.