Mentors at TEAM Mentoring sites reflect on first semester of mentoring

Update: Deadline to apply to become a TEAM Mentor for the Fall semester of 2011 is August 5th. Fill out an interest form to learn more and we will contact you with information.

Important Dates on TEAM Mentoring
•August 5: Deadline to sign up as team mentor for 2011-2012 school year
•August 18: Team Mentor 101
•August 27 (8:30am-1pm): Team Mentor training
•September 8: Team Mentor social
•Week of September 12: Start of Team Mentoring school year
•Bridges Activity day: Fall of 2011 TBD
•Team Mentoring Community Service Project: Fall of 2011 TBD

Semester one of Grizzlies TEAM Mentoring is now in the books. The inaugural group of Grizzlies mentors and students participated in a total 17 weeks of mentoring activity dating back to mid-January. The weekly sessions were focused on a variety of themes like team building, civic engagement, health and wellness, leadership, and cultural awareness.

As it exposed them to new skills and experiences, each mentoring session allowed mentors and students to develop relationships with one another. The philosophy of Mike McGee, a mentor at Power Center Academy, was simple, “We stressed the importance of being a band of brothers and at the end we really saw the students open up with each other.”

Unlike the traditional one-on-one approach, TEAM mentoring brings a unique dynamic where three mentors are matched on a team with nine students. As many of the students pointed out, having three mentors is a one of a kind experience. “They give us more than one option on issues and force us to think deeper. We get three kinds of advice because each person has different experiences, knowledge, and opinions.”

While each individual student has gotten to know their mentors better, they have also built stronger connections with their peers. “We learn more about them like what they like to do and what they are good at,” mentioned a 7th grader from Power Center, “We acknowledge each other more, especially on Thursdays.” Meeting together once a week for an hour is all it takes.

Mentors and students both agree that there were some of the activities responsible for taking their trust and relationship to the next level. “The kickball game allowed the kids to open up a way they hadn’t before. Playing a sport allowed them all to rally for a common cause,” says McGee.

Like the icebreakers and games, getting exposure to certain topics has proven to be a first time experience for some of the students. “Because my team did the Community Service project I learned that I want to give back to others this summer.” A profound comment for an 8th grade boy.

Looking ahead to the 2011-2012 school year, the Grizzlies Foundation will be doubling the teams at both Power Center and Freedom Prep Academy. This means that 45 new students will have an opportunity to participate in the mentoring program. It also creates an opportunity for fifteen new community members to become Grizzlies TEAM Mentors.

If the development of two healthy relationships was not enough, recent TEAM Mentors commented that they have all grown closer to one another. “From the get-go we blended. We bring different backgrounds and personality traits, which together appeal to the broad base of kids we have.”

Grizzlies TEAM Mentoring will start back up in early September. The time to sign up as a mentor is now! For more information on how to get involved as a TEAM Mentor fill out an interest form.

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The Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation is committed to serving Memphis youth through education and mentoring.