Consider this hypothetical report card comment about a 4th grade student:
Johnny has shown no improvement since our last parent/teacher conference. He is still often inattentive in class and does not put sufficient effort into his homework. He loves participating in and discussing sports with his friends, but should channel some of this energy into his schoolwork. He has the potential to do much better.
Who is most likely to influence a change in his behavior?
(1) His parents, (2) his teacher (3) the school principal or (4) a motivated high school student who is also on the football team.
If you answered yes to any of these options, you are correct, however; only the fourth choice is an untapped resource that can motivate and inspire younger children. This is the core of my program, On Giants’ Shoulders.
On Giants’ Shoulders uses academically and socially accomplished high school or college students, web cameras, and the Internet to motivate under-performing elementary and middle-school students. Harnessing the power of peer motivation during once a week online “chats”, the younger students are encouraged and inspired to become excited about learning and to respect their teachers, schools, peers, and the learning process. An older student group is paired with a younger student group. Each member of each group is then paired on a one-to-one basis according to individual interests.
It requires only 15 minutes a week and, as a nonprofit organization, there are no fees for our program.
TIA has provided me the opportunity to improve all aspects of my program; everything from the format of our website to pitching the idea most effectively to a group of school administrators. On Giants’ Shoulders, as an organization, is becoming more aware of how important mentoring programs are with the increased interest in our program, thanks to the many incredible TIA mentors and their wonderful colleagues and friends. A special thanks to all of the mentors, particularly Tim O’Neill, Dan O’Sullivan, Andy Culp, Lyle Morgan, and Patricia Nozell for their guidance and confidence in me and my program. Each has gone above and beyond to ensure that my program will become a success. Without TIA, On Giants’ Shoulders would not have evolved as quickly as it has in the past 3 months.
For more information regarding On Giants’ Shoulders, please visit our website: www.OnGiantsShoulders.org.
Chelsea Dale ’15 is a Psychology major from Leonia, NJ. She is the President of Active Minds,a nationally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to reducing stigma associated with mental illness, particularly those that are prevalent on college campuses. She is also a member of the club volleyball team and the Shock Dance group. Chelsea is also an RA in the Alcohol, Drugs and Behavior Lab with Julia Martinez, PhD.