We have all been there. The first day at a new school or job. You don’t know anyone and are unsure where you are going. Anxiety can be high for anyone, let alone the youth we serve—many of whom have school phobia. To help make new students more comfortable, Ms. Teri Bates started the Collier Middle School Mentoring Group.
A mentor is assigned to a new student and for the first few days, mentors will escort the new student to their classes, sit with them at lunch, and answer any questions from a student’s point of view. Mentors are trained prior to being assigned a new student through giving practice tours and going over FAQs so that they feel prepared and confident. “Everyone knows what it feels like to be bullied and left out and we don’t want them to feel that way when they come here,” Landon, a current Middle School student and mentor said. “There’s a lot of love at Collier,” he continued. “Getting to see the awe on the faces of the new students on their first day is amazing,” Sloane, another mentor exclaimed.
The Mentoring Group is open to all current middle school students. In order to be assigned a mentoring responsibility, students must be in good standing academically, behaviorally, and in attendance. If a student slips in any of these categories, they can be reassigned responsibilities once they are back on track.
Mentoring isn’t beneficial for just new students. Mentors gain confidence from being able to help others as well as social skills from giving tours, answering questions, and being the new student’s point person. “Mentoring makes me feel like I can do anything,” Landon said, “plus, I love the feeling I get when I help someone and then they want to help someone.”