Young People Need Access to Caring Adults in Schools

This spring, Mass Mentoring Partnership hosted a high school senior from TechBoston Academy as our Government Relations intern. He shared his thoughts on how supportive relationships that were built in the fabric of his school have helped him overcome challenges and prepared him for graduation and beyond.

I attend a Boston Public School in Dorchester, MA called Tech Boston Academy (TBA). When I enrolled back in August 2012, I enrolled to be a part of a program known that many schools have that's known as the PATH program. I was one of the first students to start this program with two very important individuals that have continuously helped me become a better student and person.

What Support in School Means to Me

The PATH program is a program that forges trusting relationships with a cohort of students by validating their feelings through “radical listening” which means to focus on the meaning of the speaker, not the interpretation of the listener. The program also provides a community-like space where students like me can be ourselves, free from judgment.

In the five years I have attended TBA, it hasn't been all that easy. I suffered a trauma in my adolescence that severely impacted my self-esteem and the way I perceived certain people and situations. School was an automatic trigger: a normal day would consist of anxiety, feeling uncomfortable and on-edge.

Having access to this particular program has given me the chance to form a bond with two mentors. It created a sense of safety and gave me motivation at school. The ability to walk into a welcoming environment, where there was no judgment, no negativity and just full of love was something that helped me fight through every obstacle that came my way. Whether it was going out for walks outside on the field and talking about school related or personal things, my mentors have helped me understand myself more. I am more self-aware as to what may upset me and what can I do to fix it. Because of their support, I have found positive resolutions to problems in and out of school.

Since joining the PATH program and having access to supports from my mentors, I am more comfortable knowing that there is someone within the school building beyond teachers or the headmaster to talk about school and personal issues with.

It has empowered me to use my voice in an effective and respectful manner to get my point across when advocating for help.

Being able to build positive relationships with an adult who understands you and puts themselves in your shoes has made it very easy for me to open up and allow for help to be given to me. Before meeting my mentors and entering the PATH program, I sincerely believed I had no chance in making it to graduation. However, because of the their support, consistency and availability, I’m close to the finish line, to begin a new chapter of my life.

Graduation Coaches in Schools

It is apparent that having access to mentors and programs like this is valued and needed within all schools. This is why I interned at Mass Mentoring Partnership, to join the team in advocating for Graduation Coaches. I am a living example and a proud supporter of mentors and an advocate to implement graduation coaches across the State of Massachusetts to give students this once in a lifetime experience!

To learn more about Mass Mentoring Partnership’s advocacy efforts around social-emotional supports and graduation coaches in schools, click here. Join the conversation online at #StudentsNeedSES.