In 2014, The United Way of Westmoreland County released their three-year strategic plan with an educational/community level goal aiming that “88% of students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade in Westmoreland County.”
In response to this growing issue, BBBSLR is adapting existing School-Based Mentoring Programs to provide more literacy-focused mentoring sessions. Although still in its infancy stages of development, the new “READ TO SUCCEED” programs have several clear-cut goals targeted for literacy improvement as Big Brother/Big Sister mentors work together with their Little Brothers/Little Sisters on reading selected, age-appropriate and developmentally-appropriate books for at least 20-30 minutes during their weekly mentoring sessions.
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) represents a paradigm shift from traditional education philosophy, based on standardized test scores, to a modern ideal which focuses on valuing the learning process as much as the results.
BBBSLR is strengthening our Community-Based Mentoring Programs by facilitating STEAM access and experiences to Bigs and Littles through engaging projects and hands-on activities, daring our Littles to attempt something new, make mistakes, try multiple ideas, listen to alternative options, and create a knowledge base that is applicable to real life as opposed to simply an exam.
By building grit and perseverance, creativity and innovation, and collaboration and teamwork – all skills critical to success –projects/activities aim to increase post-graduation and career readiness, ultimately preparing participating Littles to realize the bright futures they deserve.
“Self-actualization” represents a concept derived from Humanistic psychological theory and represents growth of an individual toward fulfillment of the highest needs; the achievement of one’s full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp of the real world.
Based on the process of establishing oneself as a whole person, developing one’s ability, and understanding and accepting one’s true self through the ability to self-assess in a realistic and positive manner, Bigs and Littles in the Community-Based Mentoring Programs will work together in focused learning activities which enable Littles to take full advantage of his or her talents while still being mindful of his or her limitations.
Because self-actualization involves a strong sense of purpose and self-awareness, Littles will consistently be challenged to concentrate on individual strengths, take an independent view on actions, and see situations and challenges more objectively.