Thirty-nine new participants of the university's mentoring program, FAM for Change, enjoyed a week of fun and interaction at the program's 3rd annual Summer Institute, co- facilitated this year by representatives from international organizations.
FAM for Change was the brainchild of President Dana Mohler-Faria and pairs BSU mentors with Brockton High School students to help the latter group stay in school and excel in their studies. The Brockton mentees who successfully complete the program, graduate high school and meet the requirements for entrance into the university will get admission free of charge.
The newcomers - 22 new mentors and 17 new mentees - engaged in fun activities, team building workshops and social events. Mentors and mentees already in the program joined in on some of the activities, as well.
In one workshop, some of the new mentees wrote and then delivered poetry to a crowd of fellow classmates, mentors and organizers, who were thoroughly impressed.
"Those kids are just so creative," said Susan McCombe, director of University and Community Partnerships, who sat in on that workshop.
Ms. McCombe helps organize the institute each year, working with Kenny Monteiro, FAM for Change's program manager.
With this year's total of 48 mentors and 35 mentees, the mentoring program has nearly doubled in size since its inception in 2008.
"The program is really flourishing," said Mr. Monteiro.
As an added bonus this year, representatives from Me To We, a Toronto-based social enterprise supporting the Free the Children charity, and ruMAD? (Are You Making A Difference), a social change organization in Australia, helped facilitate the institute, providing training for mentors in team-building and social action planning.
Taking time to talk in between helping run workshops on community-building and public speaking, Aidan McLaren of ruMAD? said he admires FAM for Change, as the mentors and mentees work closely together to improve their lives and their communities.
"It's about young people helping young people to create social change," he said.
First-year mentor Brian Kelleher-Calhan, a sophomore and Melrose native, said interacting with the new mentees and learning from committed BSU students helped him realize his passion for mentoring.
"Every day has put a smile on my face," he said.
Mentee Joseph D'Amarino of Brockton, now in his second year of the program with mentor, Justin Bobo, a senior and Easton native, said the program has helped him keep out of trouble. The participants, he said, have all developed close bonds.
"It's called 'FAM' for Change for a reason," he said. "We care for one another like a family." (Story and photos by Rob Matheson, Office of Institutional Communcations)
Top photo caption: (Left to right) from ruMAD?: Aidan McLaren and Dean Delia, senior manager for partner and program development; and from Me To We: Michael Fairless, manager of global leadership seminars; Stephen Antolin, leadership facilitator; and Hannah Feldberg, director of leadership.
Bottom photo caption: Mentor Reza Lashkari (in foreground), a junior and Easton native, gets some laughs during an ice-breaker game for mentees and mentors, including Brian Kelleher-Calhan (second from right).
Click below for a video covering the week-long institute: