Knoxville, Tennessee (February 9th, 2016): This January, while the nation celebrates National Mentoring Month, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley is excited to launch the STEM Mentoring program in partnership with Sea Research Foundation (SRF). This exciting partnership is the result of funding received by SRF from the Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, to develop and implement an innovative, conservation-based, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) group mentoring initiative for underserved youth.
Nationally, STEM Mentoring will engage at least 672 adult and teen mentors and 2,688 mentees, ages 6–9, in more than 60 Boys & Girls Clubs and Living Classrooms sites in 38 states and Puerto Rico, including Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley. The program advances SRF’s conservation-focused mission, aimed at providing young people with the critical science, environmental, and ocean literacy skills needed to become active stewards within their own communities.
The overall goal of STEM Mentoring is to positively impact the social development and academic achievement of youth who live where there are high community risk factors such as poverty, unemployment, violent crime, and drug or gang involvement. The program connects youth with mentors in small groups with a 4:1 mentee-to-mentor ratio to work through three interactive, multimedia curriculum modules. Mentees will learn about topics such as recycling, engineering design, math in sports, and endangered species as they work on the program’s fun, hands-on activities alongside their mentors.
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley is currently recruiting caring adult and teen volunteer mentors to participate in STEM Mentoring. Mentors commit to meeting with their small group of mentees for one hour per week during the year-long program. As mentees and mentors work together in their groups, they will build strong and supportive relationships, enabling mentees to approach their mentors when they have a concern or face a challenge. Program staff will train mentors on everything they need to know in order to guide their mentees through the program’s activities.
“STEM Mentoring builds on research showing that the greatest benefits for mentor-mentee relationships are derived from programs where structured activities play a prominent role,” explains Dr. Stephen M. Coan, President and CEO of SRF. “The fun, educational, STEM activities that are integral to STEM Mentoring help broaden skill development for participating youth while also building their resiliency. And the program is rewarding for mentors, too — more than 98% of mentors who have worked with our mentoring programs in the past say they are glad they participated.”
To learn more about STEM Mentoring at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley, or to find out how you can get involved with the program, contact Volunteer Coordinator Rachael Guarnieri.
About Sea Research Foundation
Sea Research Foundation (SRF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on conservation, education, research, and youth development. SRF is a recognized and respected leader in providing mentoring and academic enrichment to underserved youth. Over the past decade, SRF has partnered with more than 100 Boys & Girls Clubs and other youth-serving organizations across the country to implement its group mentoring programs in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). These programs not only build STEM skills in youth but also foster conservation-minded citizens of the future.