TEAM-WORKS Students Grow in Respecting Themselves, Family, Culture and Community
Currently, the Mack Strong TEAM-WORKS Foundation serves over 300 students per year in various in-school, after-school, and summer youth mentoring programs. So far in this 2012-13 academic school year, we have 108 students in our intensive in-school and after-school academies where students are committed to receiving mentoring with our three-part curriculum for nine months.
While walking the halls at our partner schools or during our after-school programs, the TEAM-WORKS staff is constantly shocked at the disrespect they witness between students. Because many of our TEAM-WORKS students do not fit the “norms” of our society, they are inundated with disrespectful comments and treatment. And, like most young people, they tend to treat others how they are treated.
As part of our three-part mentoring curriculum addressing academics, physical health and character development, these past two months have been focused extensively on teaching the value of respect. And, in just a short amount of time, we have seen dramatic changes in our students! We are so proud of our TEAM-WORKS students for embracing these lessons and activities to become respectful young men and women above and beyond the schoolwork tutoring they receive.
Here are just a few stories from our TEAM-WORKS mentors:
“Recently, in a lesson on respecting family, we broke into discussion groups to talk about ways that we disrespect and respect our family members. When asked how he disrespects his family, one boy stated, ‘I don’t anymore. I used to. You guys have helped me. Now, when I get mad at my mom or my brother, I just go to my room to think about it and cool down so when I’m ready to come back it’s like it never happened. I can be respectful all the time.’” – Nikki, TEAM-WORKS mentor
“A 5th grade student in our program began the year as a big-time jokester and was quite unfocused. Through the weeks of participating in group discussions about respect, he has become one of the better contributors. During one discussion, he opened up about having been made fun of in the past for his family’s economic status and how talking about respect has helped him think about how to treat others who are now in that same situation. During this conversation he said, ‘I remember feeling really disrespected by kids at school just because we had to live with my aunt for a while, but now we have our own house. I know a lot of kids who are in that same situation, so I really try to be nice to them.’ This student has been an example of tangible change as he has really internalized the value of respect.” – Michael, TEAM-WORKS mentor