BY NEIL GRASSO
Sacred Heart University’s Jones-Zimmerman Academic Mentoring Program (AMP) received a $45,000 grant to support the program’s efforts in assisting local students with their academic workloads.
The program was first introduced to the university during the 2001-02 academic school year.
Since then, Sacred Heart students have been helping students enrolled at John Winthrop Elementary School in Bridgeport, Conn. with their studies.
“The program runs four days per week, and participants are engaged with their mentors twice a week for two two-hour sessions,” said AMP supervisor Anne Wendel.
“The first hour is strictly academic-based. This consists of homework help, as well as assistance with long term projects,” she said. “The second hour focuses on enrichment activities, which can consist of STEM related activities, arts and crafts, or gym and recreation activities.”
John Winthrop students enrolled in the mentoring program are assigned to a single Sacred Heart student who acts as an academic tutor and mentor to help them reach a higher level of education.
This 1:1 student-to-mentor ratio allows for the students to grow personal connections with their mentors over time.
The program received the grant as a yearly endowment from the Marie and John Zimmerman Fund Inc. as a part of Sacred Heart University’s partnership with the fund.
“The funds from the grant are used for a few different allocations,” said Wendel. “They are used for the hiring and training of the mentors, as well as for the services of the AMP coordinators. The funds also go towards materials such as snacks for the students, enrichment materials and class field trips.”
Students looking to work as mentors in the program must first fill out applications provided by Sacred Heart at the beginning of each academic school year.
All grade levels are able to apply, but the primary goal is to pair Sacred Heart freshmen and sophomores with 6th grade students, in order for the mentors to see the progress of their assigned student over the course of their three middle school years.
“The program definitely attracts those who are interested in teaching as a profession, but we also get students from a number of other disciplines who are just looking to work one-on-one with younger students,” said Wendel.
“AMP really is a program that challenges both the mentors and the students,” said AMP leader, junior Linh Nguyen.“This grant has allowed us to continue working with the John Winthrop community and to learn from them.”
“Students and mentors continue to have the opportunity to journey together through the academic years and help each other grow and reach higher goals as students and individuals,” she said.
Students interested in working as a mentor in the program should contact AMP supervisor Anne Wendel at firstname.lastname@example.org.