Without a high school diploma, many struggle to reach higher education or to find a career. Yet, one in ten American adolescents did not finish high school in 2017. The number of disengaged youth who are neither working nor in school is 4.6 million, representing 12% of youth in the United States. The unfortunate reality is that many high school students face circumstances in life which make education a difficult task instead of a priority.
In light of these statistics, the importance of mentorship in dropout prevention is clear. One study determined that at-risk youth with mentors have fewer depressive symptoms, greater acceptance by their peers, more positive beliefs about their ability to succeed in school, and better grades to succeed in school than their counterparts without mentors. Another report indicated that at-risk youth with mentors are more likely to be enrolled in college than those without a mentor.
Founded in 2013, Partners in Achievement of Lowell Students is a mentorship program designed to engage at-risk youth in school and help them work toward post-secondary success. Students in the program are matched with college mentors who offer valuable perspective on education while providing guidance and attention. These mentoring relationships, in combination with PALS field trips, tutoring sessions, volunteer opportunities, and leadership opportunities, offer our students the support they need to graduate high school.
What does joining PALS mean?
Once partnered, mentors & mentees will:
- Meet twice a month to develop
connections & review goals
- Participate leadership, civic engagement,
& community service learning activities
- Maintain contact with PALS coordinator to
offer support services to each student
- Foster increased family involvement
- Offer job trainings through externships
- Provide group tutoring sessions to support
- Work with Project LEARN to develop "soft skills" for higher education and employment
"...I was chosen to be a part of the program due to my many unexcused absences my sophomore year in high school. I had no desire to wake up for school and was battling bipolar depression/anxiety. I just thought school wasn't important anymore. Then Ms. Correa had talked to me about a program she was developing for kids who are having a hard time in school. Depending on failing classes, absences, and teens who are struggling at home. She recommended me immediately. So today here I am, coming to school every day and on time. The PALS program helped me understand that school is important and I should take it seriously. The people involved with the program are a great support system. If it wasn't for the PALS program helping me steer to the right path, I'd probably be a high school drop out."
-Macayla, PALS 2014-2015