Two more Pittsburgh schools join middle school mentoring program

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Two more Pittsburgh Public Schools -- Pittsburgh Brookline K-8 and Colfax K-8 in Squirrel Hill -- have become part of 'Be a Middle School Mentor.'

The mentoring program, which now serves 14 schools, matches students in grades 6-8 with adult mentors who commit one hour a week to do activities with their mentees to help them set career goals and do well enough to qualify for Pittsburgh Promise post-secondary scholarships. It is an initiative of the United Way of Allegheny County in partnership with Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern PA.

More than 1,500 mentees, along with their mentors, have participated in the program since it began in 2009.

“Over the past several years, we’ve seen the resounding effects of the mentoring relationship on the lives of many young people,” said Damon Bethea, mentoring projects director of United Way of Allegheny County, in a news release. “It’s our responsibility as caring adults to ensure every child who wants a mentor has the opportunity to have one.”

Also in the news release, one of the mentors, Blake MacDonald, a sales representative with Stryker Instruments entering his third year as a mentor at Pittsburgh South Brook, said, “As a mentor, you get a perspective that you don’t get in business. I look forward to it each week.”

Students participating in the program had a higher daily attendance rate than other students and did better academically, according to the news release.

The mentors and mentees are matched by partner agencies, including Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh, Communities in Schools, Mt. Ararat Community Activity Center and the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh.

Other schools participating are: Pittsburgh Allegheny 6-8, Arsenal 6-8, Classical 6-8, King PreK-8, Manchester PreK-8, Milliones 6-8, Obama 6-12, Schiller 6-8, South Brook 6-8, South Hills 6-8, Sterrett 6-8 and Westinghouse 6-12.

More information on volunteering can be found at www.beamiddleschoolmentor.org.

Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.


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