June 2020 – End of Year Report

Stories to share:

“At first, I thought Be The One was an in school tutoring program where you and an adult would tutor, so I signed up but I wasn’t looking forward to it. After one meeting with Amber I realized that it’s not a place to do more schoolwork, BTO is a place to cool down, talk, or play games. And as silly as it may sound playing UNO is a great pause button for school. I got to laugh and groan every time the game was in my favor or out of my favor. It was great! So, for this I would like to say thank you for allowing me to join the program and give me an amazing mentor.”

Mentee [BTO Mentee Survey, 2020]

A student experienced a tragic event which displaced her family from their home. When the mentee told her mentor about what happened, the mentor immediately wanted to help. The FHS mentor coordinator and her mentor designed a gift basket with the theme of hope, strength and empowerment to remind the student of who she is. She received the gift basket and said, There’s no words to describe how grateful I am. I am so lucky I have wonderful people like you in my life. I’m staying strong and doing my best to manage through everything that hits me. Thank you so much

One of the questions on the BTO mentee survey is about the impact of Covid-19. One of the responses indicated hopelessness, loss of purpose and depression. Typically, students and mentors have very limited interactions during the summer. I offered to facilitate emails between them, and both were happy to do so. The student wants to share what they are learning in self-discovery and looks forward to the encouragement from their mentor this Summer.

Mentoring Update:

  • 42 Active Matches (24 more matches than June 2019)
  • 460 Hours of Mentoring (Includes mentoring after shutdown in March)
  • 4 Seniors graduated (I saw all 4 at the FHS Senior Parade!)

During COVID-19

    • 37 mentors reached out to their mentee (Email, mail, care package, Zoom).
      • 24 mentees were responsive (interacted with mentor at least once) = 64% of the mentees who were contacted by their mentor responded
    • 5 Matches talked via Zoom (3 matches used Zoom regularly)
    • 1 match met in person (Social distancing guidelines and Mentor Coordinator supervision)
    • 1 person attended a New Mentor Orientation on June 9th via Zoom

 

Adopt a Be the One Senior

  • Seniors missed Spring sports/concerts/drama productions, Prom, and graduation, in the traditional sense. “Adopt a BTO Senior” was our way to show that we care about them.
  • 3 out of 4 of our Be the One Seniors participated (Permission from parents via phone or email)
  • The seniors received messages of congratulations and care packages between May 11-June 6th (the original graduation day)
  • 10 BTO volunteers adopted a mentee (some adopted multiple)
  • Idea was proposed by a BTO Mentor based on the “Adopt a High School Student” Facebook page

 

Mentor/Mentee Survey Results

  • 19 out of 42 Mentee responses
  • 28 out of 42 Mentor responses

Forecasted retention for Fall 2020

Mentors: 90% to return, 7% not sure, 3% step down

  • Mentors w/a graduated Senior plan to step down.
  • Mentors who selected “not sure” wanted to make sure their student wants to continue first (student did not respond to their emails during Covid-19)

Mentees: 80% to return, 16% not sure, 5% No

  • Outliers: Senior chose “not sure” because she is graduating and no longer in BTO, Mentee doing running start selected “no”, but still wants to be connected to her mentor

How Mentors interacted with students during Covid-19 (out of 28 mentors)

Email – 17

Sent Gift or Care Package – 13

            Sent letter/card – 8

            DID NOT HAVE OPPORTUNITY – 6

Zoom – 3

Met in person – 1

 

If in-school mentoring is not possible the first part of the next school year, would you be interested in connecting with your mentor/mentee in some way outside of school?

Mentors                    Mentees

            Yes – 86%                  Yes – 84%

Possibly -14%             Possibly -16%

 How would you like to connect if you cannot see each other in school? Ranked from highest chosen to least.

            Mentors                                              Mentees

            Face to Face** (26)                             Face to Face** (12)

Email (22)                                            Email (11)

Zoom (18)                                           Text (10)

Text (16)                                              Phone  calls (7)

Phone calls (14)                                  Mail/Letters (7)

Mail/letters (10)                                 Zoom (6)

No contact (1)                                     No contact (1)

 *Note how students are less interested in Zoom as an option*

**Face to Face outside of school. Note how Face to Face is most desired in both mentors and mentees**

 COVID-19 Challenges

Selected Testimonials from BTO students: (taken from Survey)

“I have become more depressed emotionally than I feel like I ever have before.”

“Lonely, difficult and very frustrating”

“It’s taken away school that was my escape place. It’s harder getting the help I need.”

“I have no job right now and my store is closing down because of the virus. I couldn’t finish up my senior year like i wanted to. I also had no prom :(“

“A lot of ways because online schooling doesn’t go for me bc I can’t see my mentor face to face in person or made learning things in my classes harder when it’s not explained correctly”

“Pretty bad in all honestly. I don’t like not being in school.”

Covid -19 Observations and effects on BTO:

  • Restrictions to in-person mentoring
    • Providing high-quality relationships at a distance is difficult. Many mentors and mentees bond over physical activities (Uno, sports, walking the track, etc.)
  • Lower Mentor and Student Engagement
    • Most mentors and mentees did not interact weekly as compared to previously via in-person model
      • Mentor testimonial attributes this to limited training around how to engage with students via email, Zoom, etc.
      • Many mentors and students who are physically active together during their mentoring hour did not engage as frequently during distance learning. (Those who worked out, played Uno, walked the track, etc.)
    • Low Student Morale (in some students)
      • Based on the 2020 survey, some mentees indicated they were not drastically affected by the quarantine. 9/16 indicated a significant negative change. Read testimonial from surveys above.
      • My personal worry is that some students will experience negative mental health effects from the intensity of change and lack of connection.
      • I advocated for a couple students struggling with distance learning (device access, frustration with virtual learning, etc.)
    • Temporary suspension in Mentor and Mentee onboarding
      • Mentor Coordinator focused on connecting current mentors and mentees
        • Less time focused on mentor on-boarding, mentee onboarding and creating new matches
      • Low sense of Closure
        • Closure is an important part of healthy relationships
        • We were not able to have our EOY Party, EOY gifts (Picture of mentor/mentee together), or the final mentoring hour to say goodbye for Summer
        • A handful of mentors/mentees said farewell for Summer over email & Zoom

Considerations for Fall 2020

  • Be the One mentors are identified as essential volunteers
    • We request that Admin allow mentors to meet with students in-person as soon as possible based on the safety guidelines given by the state.
    • We request that BTO mentors be identified a strategy for mental health prevention for our FHS students and therefore identified as essential volunteers.
  • Be the One mentors are provided a specific training on relevant topics such as
    • Covid-19 health and safety measures
    • How to navigate controversial topics (Presidential election, BLM, protesting, re-opening of economy, etc.)

**To be conducted by Mentor Coordinators**

  • Develop an off-campus option for mentors and mentees to meet
    • Lynden SD mentors/mentees can already get permission from guardians to meet off-site (with restrictions) if mentor/mentee have been matched for at least 1 school year.
    • Can serve as an option for mentees who want to see their mentor, but are not on FHS Campus due to distance learning, running start, Ferndale Academy/Soar, etc.