DENVER — The Denver Public Schools Career Development Coach Mentoring program is searching for more men of color to serve as mentors at McAuliffe Manual Middle School and several other schools this year.
The Coach Mentoring program is entering its third year and partners with individuals and companies across the city, connecting them with more than 20 DPS middle and high schools in the district.
“It is so important to connect our students to this community and to connect our community to our students as well,” said Savannah Thomas, counselor at McAuliffe Manual Middle School.
Thomas said at McAuliffe, the program focuses on 7th graders.
“They meet every other week and we have a group of about 10 7th grade boys of color who are mentored by men of color in our community, who want to connect with our students and want to tell them about their career paths and ways to get them ready for their future,” Thomas said.
Thomas said they need 10 to 12 men of color to serve as mentors this year.
“This an amazing time to do this. These students are just learning about themselves, really, to their core. They're figuring out what they like, what they don't like,” Thomas said. “We would love to have any men of color in the community come out to be mentors for our students. Anybody who's interested in talking about their job, talking about professionalism — things that can help students to be successful in their future.”
The program matches students with professionals in the field of study they’re most interested in.
The time commitment consists of three hours of mentorship a month for eight months. Each year, about 200 kids from 6th to 12th grade participate throughout the district.
“My experience was pretty fun," said Khimari Morey, a student at McAuliffe Manual Middle School. "My mentor, he was cool, fun, and chill. He's easy to talk to. I still talk to him to this day. He helped me find out a lot about what type of careers I would like to do. He works at Genna Rae's. So I've thought about maybe doing that or doing customer service. I also talked to him about one thing I've always been interested in is blacksmithing.”
Morey, who is now in 8th grade, participated in the program last year.
Morey said he also talked to his mentor about personal challenges he faced.
“Sometimes you need somebody to talk to you other than your family members,” Morey said. “He helped me through a breakup that I went through and when I was dealing with some family issues.”
The program will continue accepting mentor applications over the next few weeks.