The Mentors at Drew University

Daily Point of Light # 1104 Apr 28, 1998

In 1996 the Board of Trustees of Drew University, along with former New Jersey governor and president of the University, Thomas Kean, decided to start a mentoring program in partnership with 10,000 Mentors of Morristown. The program’s creators believed they had to do something about the kids’ feelings of hopelessness. The mentors are there to give the kids hope that they can make a better life for themselves. This program is designed to mentor the thousands of kids in Newark who have no positive role models.

A recent study conducted by a Philadelphia based research house, Public/Private Ventures (PPV), tracked youth who had been involved with one-on-one mentoring programs nationwide and compared them to with a group of youth who have never been formally linked with mentors. The results illustrated that youth matched with adult mentors were less likely to use drugs, become pregnant as teens and resort to physical violence. The students of Drew who participate try to provide and reinforce positive values through the development of a healthy child/adult relationship. The group addresses issues like teen pregnancy, drugs and physical violence and how they can be detrimental to a child's progress in life.

The program is made up of close to 130 Drew University students who provide mentoring once a week to more than 110 at-risk youths. The children are taken to Drew University by bus, giving the children a chance to see a college campus with lots of trees and grass, as opposed to the asphalt and concrete of Newark.

Through the program there has been an improvement in children from the third to eighth grades. The kids have expressed an interest in going to college when that would not even be an option growing up in Newark. According to teachers, the children's grades and classroom cooperation has improved. In addition the mentors get a feeling of being better citizens and personal fulfillment.

Funding for the Mentors at Drew University come from the Amelior Foundation who also funds 10,000 Mentors of Morristown. They raise money on their own and get a sizable donation from an anonymous donor.