January Newsletter: A Slice of APIE
- Build Trust – Make sure your mentee knows you are available and you care about what they think and how they feel.
- Listen – Ask open ended questions. Listen twice as much as you speak, and reflect back on what you hear from your mentee.
- Encourage – Focus on the positive and on doing things with rather than for your mentee. Share your own experiences to help them make decisions.
- Be Reliable – Set expectations you can live up to. Be consistent and persistent by living up to your commitments.
- Have Fun! – Do things your mentee enjoys, but also expose them to new ideas. Remember to be understanding and to have a sense of humor.
APIE in the Classroom | National Mentoring Month
This January, we are celebrating National Mentoring Month. Mentoring is a relationship between caring adults and children that shows young people someone cares about them, assures children they are not alone when dealing with struggles, and makes them feel like they matter.
Mentoring is an investment of time. It is the act of showing up and caring for a child. Research confirms that quality mentoring relationships have powerful, positive effects on young people in a variety of personal and academic situations. Students who meet regularly with a mentor have better school attendance, maintain better attitudes towards school, and a greater chance of pursuing higher education.
APIE’s mentoring program connects adults with students to support and guide them during the school year. Mentors are needed in every grade level from Kindergarten to 12th grade. February 5th is the final day to sign up as an APIE mentor for the 2016-2017 school year. Please consider supporting a student through mentoring by clicking here.
Volunteer Spotlight | Tony Hanson
Tony has been mentoring for two years. He takes an hour off from his job at the General Land Office every week to meet with his mentee at Reagan High School. Tony has always had someone to walk beside him as a mentor. “They kind of let me learn as I walked, but they were there to let me bounce things off of them as well. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do for someone else.”
Tell me about your most memorable experience with your mentee.
While talking with my mentee, I assumed that he probably doesn’t listen to the same kind of music that I do. I don’t listen to a lot of hip-hop, but he did and some of the artists he was talking about I hadn’t heard of. So to connect with him, I went back and listened to some of those artists. That really was a breakthrough moment for us. I believe that was significant. You could see his eyes light up like, “Okay, he’s not this old fogey; he does connect with me.”
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a mentor?
The biggest challenge at times is time. Mentoring to me is really about time and the investment of time. I’ve come to realize that I can make an investment in people by giving them money, or different things. But when you can invest time, I think that’s what really transcends all of that. The challenge is saying, “Stop, turn off the machine, get your keys, and go talk with my mentee.”
Another challenge is asking, “Are we going to connect?” If we don’t connect then I make the turnaround like, “Is it me? What can I change?” But I’ve come to realize that, “Tony, you don’t need to change. You be you, he will be who he is and hopefully you can find some common ground.”
What change have you seen in yourself since you’ve become a mentor?
Initially, I always go in thinking I’m going to help someone else, and I think I have. But a lot of times, it comes back to me because I’m very introverted, and this allows me to come out of that shell. It allows me to work on me, and then I see some of the results when I hear my mentee talk about how what we talked about worked. Or he says, “I got this situation, what do you think?” That’s what I continue to see as an improvement; it helps me to be less introverted.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a mentor?
Try it. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has a quote: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” That to me is what we’re here for. We’re not necessarily here in this space for ourselves, but it’s walking with someone else through life. When you’re talking about being a mentor, a lot of times people think of it as being formal. It doesn’t have to be formal. You don’t have to be so afraid to share your experiences. Be willing to listen more than talk and just be present. That’s what I’ve come to realize not just in young people, but with people period. Just your presence really does speak volumes to them.
Donor Spotlight | The Community
Your contributions allowed us to successfully pilot “Career Conversations,” a program dedicated to introducing middle school students to STEM field careers.
Your support further fostered APIE’s “UTeach Outreach,” an after school science program that will bring college students to the school with experiments designed and taught by UT students and assisted by APIE volunteers.
Among other firsts for APIE was our involvement with “Hour of Code,” a global movement by Computer Science Education Week and Code.org. Our volunteers and staff brought “Hour of Code” into Burnet and Martin middle schools to teach the basics of coding and to share about career opportunities in STEM fields.
It is through your financial support that APIE is able to provide these types of programs to Austin ISD students. Thank you for your support in and out of the classroom!
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
APIE’s AmeriCorps VISTA’s marched alongside AISD’s Peer Assistance, Leadership & Service (PALS) students in honor and remembrance of the great civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
APIE after School | Partnership with UTeach
APIE is excited to announce its collaboration with UTeach to bring community volunteers to after-school STEM Clubs. APIE volunteers and UTeach students will work weekly with small groups of middle school students, culminating in a mini-Science Olympiad competition at the University of Texas.
Beginning on February 27th, APIE and UTeach will launch an after-school STEM Club at Burnet and Covington middle schools. APIE volunteers will be assigned to a small group of 7th/8th grade students for the 7 week program working on topics ranging from experimental design, anatomy & physiology, to food science and forensic science. Volunteers will support students through weekly UTeach hands-on lessons and share information about their STEM careers. The Burnet after-school club will meet Mondays from 4:15-5:15 and Covington’s club will meet on Wednesdays from 4:30-5:30.
All students and volunteers will be invited to the mini-Science Olympiad on May 15th at the University of Texas campus. For more information, or to volunteer for this program, please contact Amy Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Run for APIE
This February, we hope you’ll run (or jog, or walk) with APIE. Help us reach our goal of $5,000 to provide academic support to economically disadvantaged students in Austin. Join our team or support our runners by clicking below!