Wave Staff Report
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Unified School District has announced a new mentoring initiative, Everyone Mentors L.A. that will invest in the lives of historically underserved students to ensure every student graduates ready for the world.
The new initiative will match students contending with declining grades, chronic absenteeism, social emotional support and other challenges that have inhibited their academic success with a mentor from the Los Angeles community.
“If every student had a mentor, coach or advocate, they would succeed,” Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. “Time and again research demonstrates the positive benefits a mentor can have on students. I’m thrilled [to be] announcing Everyone Mentors LA, which will have an immediate impact on the students who need it the most.”
Mentoring provides students with a positive adult role model who is an objective observer, an encouragement, good listener and a beneficial companion, Carvalho said.
“Every additional adult in a student’s life is beneficial,” school board President Jackie Goldberg said. “An adult who can focus on the academic and social emotional well-being of a student is a gift that keeps on giving. I’m thrilled for this opportunity for our most vulnerable students.”
Through mentoring, students increase grade point averages, test scores and attendance, are less likely to use illegal drugs and alcohol, demonstrate better social skills and adaptation to school and develop positive interactions and self-esteem. In other words, the benefits of mentoring are innumerable to student development.
School board Vice President Scott M. Schmerelson said expanding mentorship opportunities can make a world of difference for students, “especially those who are falling behind, or facing difficult situations.”
“Mentoring is always a value-add to our students’ educational journey,” school board member George McKenna added. “Our children will gain the opportunity to cultivate relationships with adults who can provide exposure to new experiences and perspectives that can leave a permanent imprint on their life.
The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Los Angeles Business Council and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles are among the supporters of the new mentoring program.
“The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce enthusiastically supports programs which provide guidance and encouragement to students,” L.A. Area Chamber President and CEO Maria S. Salinas said. “Business leaders have much to offer and mentorship is one small way to positively impact a student’s life.”
We are excited to participate in this mentoring program.”
“The Los Angeles Business Council recognizes the potential of the business community to affect change in our schools through Everyone Mentors LA,” Business Council President Mary Leslie said. “Our members have expertise, compassion and a shared commitment to the success of L.A. youth.”
Lauren Plichta, president and CEO of Big Brother Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles, said mentorships advance critical social and emotional development needed to help build resilience, improve academic success and strengthen the mental health and well-being of students.
“As an organization rooted in uplifting the power of mentorship, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles wholeheartedly supports Los Angeles Unified’s Everyone Mentors LA initiative,” she added.
“I know from first-hand experience how mentors can encourage young people to leap into new experiences that benefit their academics, career aspirations and social and mental health,” school board member Rocío Rivas said. “I look forward to seeing this initiative connect our civic community with a new generation of leaders.”
The city’s Youth Development Department also will partner with the school district in the new program.
“A mentorship relationship can enhance a youth’s life by supporting their interests, education and well-being and guide them down a path that can change their life trajectory,” said Lisa Salazar, the department’s executive director. “We are excited to partner with Los Angeles Unified in forging these mentorship opportunities and invite our city family to participate in investing their time and wisdom with L.A.’s youth.”