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Redmond High School offers new peer mentorship program to help younger students thrive

(Update: Adding video, comments from program coordinators, student mentors)

''It’s so good to have something positive going on in our schools right now.'

REDMOND, Ore (KTVZ) -- Redmond High School juniors and seniors are pairing up with freshmen and sophomores to help them navigate life socially, mentally and academically through a new mentorship program.

Leaders of the program, Kris Davis and Jesse Armstrong, said Wednesday the idea is to give students the opportunity to create important peer relationships, help develop skills and have people to depend on besides the adults in their lives.

“There’s a lot of things going on in life right now, and I think the more help that we can get besides adults in their life or teachers at school, it’s really going to help them out," Armstrong said.

A total of 51 juniors and seniors are currently in the eighth week of the mentor training and will be paired up with 51 younger students next week.

“We’re identifying students that are right on the fringe of -- if they had a little bit of motivation, a little bit of help, a little bit of guidance, a little bit of understanding of the responsibility in class, things like homework getting in on time, getting organized, how you deal with social situations," Armstrong said.

The juniors and seniors said they’re looking forward to building meaningful relationships and will make it a point to help the students in ways they wish they had received it.

Redmond senior Mandy Star said she would have appreciated the support of a peer holding her accountable for academic success and being a friend in her earlier high school years. Now, taking on this new position of leadership, she's looking forward to being that support.

“Being able to help someone with things that I’ve struggled with, too. Just knowing that someone is always there -- I’ve always had trouble making friends," Star said.

Redmond junior Brody Spencer said he is looking forward to creating social, helping connections. He said he struggled with getting assignments in on time, and hopes to help other students stay on top of things.

“You need to kind of have motivation. Otherwise, you’re not really going to succeed anywhere," Spencer said.

Another junior, Natalie Phanco, is focused on building a genuine connection with her mentee. When she was a freshman, she said, she had a mentor who always offered great advice and was a great listener. From building that strong interpersonal bond, her mentor helped sculpt a meaningful high school experience for her.

“I think a good leadership quality would be integrity. Especially for this situation, because if you’re mentoring a kid and they see you talking negatively about them or like (say), 'That was so stupid,' they’re going to be like … 'WHAT!'" Phanco said.

Senior Logan Willett said he wished he would have had more help with organizational and time-management skills. He shared his important takeaways about leadership.

“How to make the person feel listened to and know that they’re being listened to. Also just understanding that, like, a lot of things aren’t as big of a deal as they might seem. Life moves on," Willett said.

Armstrong said the students will be paired together every Wednesday.

“It’s a wonderful thing, because it’s so good to have something positive going on in our schools right now," Armstrong remarked.

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Bola Gbadebo

Bola Gbadebo is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Bola here.


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