Preparing students to be “ready for life” is a top priority for Life School, a charter school district serving more than 5,000 students in the North Texas Area. The district is now partnering with a like-minded partner, school-based mentoring program Mentors Care. Together, they will help students graduate and prepare them for what comes next – life.
Mentors Care connects high school students who are at risk of not graduating with mentors, tools, and resources to lead them toward graduation. The organization recruits and trains volunteers for one-on-one relationships to help students stay on track to graduate and create a path for their next stage of life.
According to Dena Petty, Executive Director & Founder for Mentors Care, about 85% of Mentors Care mentees are “at-risk” per state standards. Risk factors include being low income, coming from a single-parent home, or having one or more incarcerated parents. Other students may be “at-risk” due to anxiety, depression, bullying or poor decision-making.
Life School has served students and families for more than 20 years. Its culture of partnering with parents and the community to develop student leaders makes it a natural fit for Mentors Care. “We are so excited to partner with Life School,” exclaims Petty. “They share our heart and passion to help students. Their core belief of connecting students with the community makes this a strong partnership.”
For Life School, the relationship is a real win. “Life School is already focused on preparing students for life through our LifeLeader program,” says Chief Development Officer Eddie Davis. “We teach students soft skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and how to be self-managed. Collaborating with Mentors Care will help reinforce our LifeLeader principles while giving our students added support through a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult.”
Mentors Care’s approach to mentoring is somewhat novel. By having a full-time coordinator on campus, students and volunteer mentors are better supported. Mentors, after being thoroughly vetted and trained, are asked to meet with mentees for an hour each week. When mentors arrive to meet with their students, they are equipped with a report of student grades and attendance, allowing them to keep track of the students’ progress. Mentors also follow a curriculum designed to address social and emotional learning and guide conversations about the student’s future plans.
Mentors Care has a record of success. With an army of volunteers more than 400 strong, they support more than 450 students in nine area schools. According to Petty, “For the past three years, we have a 100% graduation rate for any student who has been in our program for more than two years.”
“The future looks different for every student. Some are college-bound, while others are better suited for trade schools or a career track. We now have relationships with area employers and are helping to place our mentees in good-paying jobs directly out of high school,” says Mentors Care Managing Director, Brian Blackwell. “What we’re doing is giving kids hope.”
If you are interested in supporting the Mentors Care/Life School partnership by becoming a volunteer mentor or providing snacks to campus coordinators, please contact Mentors Care (mentors.care). To support the Life School partnership financially, please contact the Life School Education Foundation (lifeschool.net/lsef).
Life School is a tuition-free, public charter school with campuses in Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Lancaster, Mountain Creek, Red Oak, Oak Cliff and Waxahachie, TX. Life School develops leaders with life skills through strong academics, character training, and partnerships with parents and the community. Its mission is accomplished in part through the financial support of donors who provide scholarships and embrace making students ready to learn, ready to lead and ready for life.