The Success Mentors Initiative and City Year
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Posted by: Laura Kazanovicz
City Year is proud to be participating in the Success Mentors initiative led by President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper, which works to ensure that all young adults, particularly urban students and youth of color, receive additional supports and relationships that help them persist, thrive and graduate from high school, prepared for college, career and life success.
The Christian Science Monitor captured the impact of Success Mentors in a September story about a Providence middle school where AmeriCorps member Justin Roias (Providence '15, '16) formed a powerful bond with sixth-grader Manny Aponte. Manny had been chronically absent, gotten suspended and became disengaged from his studies.
Roias grew up in a neighborhood near Manny’s and understood some of the challenges the boy had faced. He started checking in with Manny every day, building trust between them.
Through their conversations, Roias learned that Manny had been shot playing outside when he was just 6 years old, the victim of an outbreak of gang violence. The trauma of that event had contributed to Manny repeating fourth grade and some behavioral issues, including skipping school.
After meeting Roias, Manny began attending school more frequently and his grades and relationships with teachers and students improved.
Manny credits Roias for the changes. He “motivates me. He’s the best person I ever met in the world,” Manny said. “I have no other people like him ... that’s always on me, pushing me.”
This year, 17 City Year sites are participating in the Success Mentors initiative: Boston, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, New York City, Philadelphia, Providence, Sacramento, San Antonio and Seattle.