Welcome back, volunteers! In this issue, we share our program results, spotlight several of APIE’s supporters, and kick off the new year celebrating National Mentoring Month.
National Mentoring Month
Americans are overwhelmingly crossing racial, economic, and other bridges to mentor young people outside their families. As reported by the National Mentoring Partnership, one-in-three young Americans are growing up without a mentor to offer real-life guidance, leading to possible disconnection from school and work.
With a Mentor, a child is:
- 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school
- 55% more likely to be enrolled in college
- 46% less likely than their peers to start using drugs
- 81% more likely to report participating regularly in sports extracurricular activities
- 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities
- 130% more likely to say that they held a leadership position in a club or sports team
-As reported by the National Mentoring Partnership
Refer a Friend | Spread the Word About APIE
Spring semester has begun, and we are looking for caring adults to join us in the classrooms. Have you asked your friends, coworkers, or neighbors, “Do you like working with students? Can you give one hour a week to enrich the education of a young learner?” We would love for them to join APIE! Click here to register.
Listen to more testimonials about volunteering with APIE here.
Volunteer Spotlight | Rick Schumacher
Rick Schumacher has been an APIE mentor since 2010. As a military veteran, Rick recognized volunteering with APIE aligns with his passion for providing service to the community.
Why did you decide to become a mentor?
I am a Tillman Scholar. The Tillman Foundation provides scholarships to military veterans and spouses. Part of our ethos is a dedication to service. Mentoring seemed like a great way to provide service to my community.
Additionally, I was lucky enough to have a mentor when I was a kid. He had a big impact on where I am today. I want to pay it forward.
What activities do you do with your mentee?
Mostly we eat lunch and talk about school, life, and video games. We also like to play board games. I am in a unique position in that I have two mentees, one in second grade and the other in seventh. It is interesting to contrast the two. I have mentored the seventh-grader since he was in kindergarten. Back then, we started playing with simple toys; and now, we are playing chess. It has been great to see him progress over the years.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a mentor?
Sometimes there are issues that have come up that are just too big for me to handle. Maybe it is a situation at home or maybe there is an issue of bullying. It is great to know that I am not alone. The counselors and teachers have always been available.
Have you had a specific “breakthrough” moment or story where you’ve shared a positive session with your mentee?
When you go into the mentoring relationship, you usually get some background on the mentee, home life or particular concerns at school. I had one mentee for two years and it was half-way through the second year when he finally opened up about his background. It was just like any other conversation we had ever had, easy and without hesitation. I was so happy that I was able to bridge that gap and become someone he could just talk to without the filters.
What advice do you have for mentors in the future?
- Meet the kids where they are. You have to tap into your inner 8-year-old.
- Be honest and open. They will know if you are trying to sugarcoat something.
- Set goals with your mentee. All A’s or no behavior problems? Wear a clown wig to lunch. Get creative!
Program Results | Annual Evaluation Report 2017-2018
The results are in and you helped make a difference! Thank you for being a part of APIE’s initiative to connect the community and the classroom. We know our volunteers increase students’ self-confidence and improve their test scores, too.
Math Classroom Coaching Program
Eighth-grade students from seven middle schools participated in APIE’s Math Classroom Coaching Program to prepare for Algebra I in high school. In 2018, our strongest results were with our Hispanic students, who make up 76% of our math program and met the STAAR Math passing standard at significantly higher rates than did their matched peers. APIE participants also developed greater awareness of math-related careers.
College Readiness Program
Overall, 487 seniors from 10 AISD high schools participated in APIE’s College Readiness Program. Significantly greater percentages of APIE CR program participants than of a matched comparison group met college readiness criteria on college admissions tests (i.e. ACT, SAT, and TSI) and completed college admissions and financial aid applications
Donor Spotlight | Patty Steinwedell
Patty works for the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) and has been an active APIE donor and volunteer with the Middle School Math Classroom Coaching program for two years. We asked her a few questions about her experience as an APIE Volunteer, and about her reasons for giving back.
Why do you get involved in the community?
In order to feel at home in a place, it’s important to make a contribution. Contributions include time, talent, and resources. Involvement in the community gives me a chance to learn new things, to share some things I’ve learned, and to feel grounded where I live. Getting involved creates a common history that binds us together and makes a place feel like home.
What inspired you to volunteer with Austin Partners In Education and what have you enjoyed most about it?
I work at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas and they offer a program giving TRS employees time to go volunteer with APIE. It was an easy decision to take part! Volunteering with APIE is a great opportunity to give back to the community TRS serves. I chose to be a Math Classroom Coach because of my various careers in insurance, as a stay at home mom, and in finance, all required a strong foundation in math. Without strong math skills, I would not have been successful in any of these careers. I’m not the first one to say this, and I believe it completely: The only investment with guaranteed returns is an education.
What’s one of your favorite stories from your time volunteering with APIE?
One group I worked with included four students who had a lot of fun with each other, but sometimes their attention to math wasn’t a high priority. For any age, it’s hard for math to compete with phones and paper football and sports and social conversations, but maybe especially for 8th graders. I sometimes wondered if any of the lessons were sinking in, but then at the end of the year, I received a handmade card from all of them that was heartfelt and proved they had been listening more than I knew. And Shakira’s card was so honest it brought a chuckle: “Thank you for working with me and helping me. Even though most of the time the group was loud and playing, I appreciate you sticking with us and not leaving.”
Austin Marathon | Sam & Grace Dowd
The 2019 Austin Marathon is quickly approaching! On February 17th, runners will compete in the Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K while fundraising for their favorite nonprofit organizations. During last year’s race, Sam and Grace Dowd raised over $6,000 for Austin Partners In Education. Here’s an inside look on their experience!
“We were nervous at first about soliciting donations, but after we drafted a letter together and sent it out we received an incredible response! There are so many people looking for great organizations to support in Austin, and we were thrilled to tell people more about the scope and scale of APIE’s work. The outpouring of support served as tremendous motivation to run hard for APIE. We cannot wait to start the process again.”
APIE will be returning to mile 22 to hand out water and cheer Austin Marathon runners on! Volunteer to join the fun during this city-wide event. On February 17th, two shifts are offered: 7:30AM to 11:00AM, and 10:30AM to 2:00PM. To sign-up, please e-mail Andrea Panter – firstname.lastname@example.org. See you on race day!