My Mentorship Experience at Harper-Archer Middle School

For the past four Tuesday’s, I have been serving as an in school mentor for our L.E.A.D. baseball team at Harper-Archer Middle School. This mentoring program is yet another great idea from my wife Kelli who serves as L.E.A.D.’s Executive Director. I will continue to serve in this role until the last week of the school year.

A group shot of the Harper-Archer Jaguars on L.E.A.D. Signing Day 2013
I spend 45 quality minutes per week with the LEADers at Harper-Archer Middle School to ensure that they connect L.E.A.D. with their academic success. Here is my weekly format for mentoring.

Take role. School attendance is one of the ways that our LEADers pay to be in our year round program. If you aren’t at school, you are missing opportunities to learn.  Our success as an organization is based on increasing the the high school graduation rate of African-American males in high school.  The current APS graduation rate for AA males is 52%.  Click here to check out the IMPACT STATS for L.E.A.D.

Recite the L.E.A.D. precept. Our precept puts us all on one accord. We link arms and recite “I am proud to be a creation of God. I’m thankful for this opportunity to be a LEADer. I am my brothers keeper and together we will achieve greatness.”

Recite a prayer. It is always great to hear our LEADers offer a prayer of acknowledgement and thanks to God for His many blessings to us.

Recite the L.E.A.D. mission statement. Understanding our mission allows our LEADers to recognize that we aren’t just a “baseball team”. L.E.A.D.’s mission is to provide inner city Atlanta at-risk males with access to higher education and civic engagement through baseball. We achieve our mission in the areas of academics, athletics, service/civic engagement and exposure.

Time for reflections. Our LEADers are dealing with so many social issues that make it difficult to focus on receiving a quality education. We spend time discussing negative issues and resolve them as a group. This is my favorite time with them. It is powerful. They want to be successful in life so bad. They only need someone like me that can lead the way.

Collect the Tracking Sheets. Our LEADers pay for their L.E.A.D. experience with their school attendance, behavior and grades. They are required to have their teachers sign off on their tracking sheets weekly. The tracking sheets are like money. Bad tracking sheets, no baseball!

There are four things that must be in place to be an effective mentor according to my wife Kelli.

1. You must have something of value. Our mentees love baseball and L.E.A.D. provides a path to college and career opportunities.  L.E.A.D. was established in 2007.  We will have our first college graduating class this summer.

2. You must develop a relationship. Our mentoring program, baseball practices, baseball games, service projects, and exposure events gives us a great platform to build relationships with our LEADers.

3. You must have consistent interaction. L.E.A.D. is year round. You can’t be more consistent than that.

4. They must trust you. Once all of the above are established, they will no doubt trust you and if they trust you, you can mentor them.

This is yet another reason why L.E.A.D. works.

The Harper-Archer Jaguars