CSUS Mentoring Program
CSUS Mentoring Program Information
Focusing on Student Strengths
When working with under-represented students, we all too often see only their limitations and not their strengths. Since they have experienced a great deal of conflict, neglect, and rejection in their lives, we assume that somehow they were severely damaged and weakened by such experiences. In reality, the tremendous pressures in the lives of these troubled students have in some respects made them stronger than many “normal” students and planted deep roots of resilience or the ability the overcome adversity. Thus, the positive mentor interactions allow the student to move beyond their own problems by developing a sense of responsibility to help others which forms the basis of future positive peer interactions.
The activities of the mentoring students include:
- Building caring relationships based on trust that meet the fundamental need to belong and are the core to establishing positive peer interactions;
- Establishing high expectations by identifying innate talents and fostering problem solving skills which form the basis of higher level critical thinking;
- Redefining “responsibility” as the responsibility to give help to others which is the only route to true strength, autonomy, and a positive self-concept; and
- Instilling a sense of purpose so that the student can meaningfully participate in their education.
The central position of the CSU Stanislaus mentoring program is that students can develop self-worth, significance, dignity, and responsibility and develop positive peer interactions only as they become committed to the value of helping others. Thus, with encouragement and support from positive adult mentors who engage the students in meaningful activities and have high expectations, students can experience positive peer interactions based on mutual trust and respect, discover hidden talents, solve problems creatively, and find a fulfilling purpose in their lives.
Research on mentoring programs suggests that Relationship-based mentoring based on informal relationships is more effective than other more traditional structured mentoring programs.
CSUS and TUSD Join Forces for Mentoring
In collaboration with California State University, Stanislaus, the Turlock Unified School District is offering opportunities for CSUS students to provide mentoring services to our students. For more information about the program, please watch the video below.
About CSUS Mentoring Program
The CSU Stanislaus mentoring program is about providing under represented students in the Turlock Unified School District the most important factor in their future success: a positive adult connection. This positive connection will help our students build resilience which is the ability to persevere through and overcome adversity. By participating in the mentoring program, students learn to reframe challenging behaviors, increase positive peer interactions, and develop innate talents.
Extensive research in the area of student development has emphasized the importance of providing positive environmental supports, such as mentors. The mentors develop caring relationships with the students, set high expectations, and provide ample opportunity for meaningful participation in the process. The presence of the mentors will help meet the fundamental developmental needs of students for belonging, security, respect, identity, power, mastery, and meaning. This, in turn, engages students’ innate resilience, promotes positive peer interactions, and protects against involvement in challenging behaviors such as substance abuse and violence. In addition, it improves outcomes for academic achievement.
Resilience research clearly documents the power of mentors to tip the scale from risk to resilience for students. Even among students growing up in overwhelmingly negative conditions, researchers have found that 70-80% of them have demonstrated healthy adjustment and achievement when schools are sensitive to them and provide supportive activities (Garbarino, J., Dubrow, Kostelny, K., and Pardo, C. 1992). Student development and successful learning are not competing goals but rather complementary processes. As Nel Noddings has observed:
It is clear that when schools focus on what really matters in life, the cognitive ends we now pursue so painfully and artificially will be achieved somewhat more naturally. It is obvious that children will work harder and do things…for people they trust (Noddings, N. 1988).