After the rousing success at Dade Middle School with a similar event for young men, education advocates are again seeking mentors for Dallas Independent School District students — this time at Lincoln High School.
The Breakfast With a Bunch of Beauties breakfast, which will be held tomorrow at the high school, will match about 300 young women with what organizers Meka Donell and Nikisha Handy hope will be lifelong mentor relationships with local women.
“We want the relationships built to be ones in which years from now, the young women from Lincoln High School will still be in touch and continuing to forge close relationships with the women they were connected with at the event,” Handy said. “I want 1, 5 or 10 years from now, to follow up with these mentors to hear the success stories of how these young women have progressed as a result of connecting them to a mentor that truly had an impact on their lives.”
The two said that Lincoln High has some of the most phenomenal programs in the district (in fact, we featured the TV and Film department a few months ago), including its Collegiate Prep Academy, culinary arts program, engineering department and more.
“Some of Lincoln’s staff have such a commitment of longevity that they have taught some of the parents or grandparents of the current student population,” Handy said. “It is evident to me, that the staff is very invested and work incredibly hard to secure success for these students by building strong relationships, partnerships, and creating programs to fill the needs of the students.”
“Lincoln High School is 71 percent at-risk with 93 percent of students experiencing low socioeconomic statuses,” she added. “As an educator, I believe that it is much more effective to focus on year to year growth, rather than strictly focusing on test scores.”
Handy said that mentoring relationships make an immense difference for students.
“Mentoring guarantees for those that receive it, that there’s someone who genuinely cares about them and prevents young people from feeling as though they have to go through life’s daily challenges by themselves or feeling alone,” she said. “A healthy mentoring situation has the potential to make the mentee feel that they truly matter.”
“Research has proven that quality mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on young people concerning academics, personal experiences, and even in professional situations.”
Handy and Donell are hopeful that by providing the opportunity for young women at Lincoln to connect with professional women, they can also create a culture of success.
“Effective mentoring programs connect young people with adults to increase their personal growth as well as create social and economic opportunities,” Handy said. “Unfortunately, the current statistics state that one in three young people will grow up without a mentor.”
“Breakfast With A Bunch of Beauties is our way of falsifying that statistic and ensuring that the ladies of Lincoln High School will have a more positive trajectory as a result of the event,” she continued. “Young people are our future, we must ensure that our futures are bright by pouring back into them and tapping into our younger selves to in many ways break generational curses and provide new opportunities sooner to them than we ourselves received.”
Most of all, Handy hopes that the connections forged at tomorrow’s breakfast will result in lifelong friendships and mentorships.
“The expectation is that the relationships continue to evolve and that these young ladies have a more enriched life and trajectory as a result,” she said.
Handy and Donell said they’re slightly short of their goal of 300 mentors, and registration is still open. If you cannot attend, they are also seeking sponsors for gift bags they plan on giving the girls – $5 will sponsor one bag, and $20 will sponsor four.
For information on the event, or to sponsor gift bags, click here.
Bethany Erickson is the education, consumer affairs, and public policy columnist for CandysDirt.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.