The Sibanye Mentor Program

Daily Point of Light # 1324 Mar 2, 1999

The Sibanye Mentor Program is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, community-based mentoring and tutoring program providing assistance to elementary school students in the metropolitan Washington, DC area since 1988. The program utilizes the services of more than 40 adult and student volunteers. Its volunteers comprise a wide spectrum of the community, including the government, military and private sector. Its student volunteers are fulfilling their community service requirements and are from the metropolitan Washington school districts. The name "Sibanye" is a Kiswahili word which means "We Are One," terminology which reflects the philosophy that it takes a village to raise a child.

The program targets elementary school age children, ages 7-14, from the metropolitan Washington, DC area. The program recruits adults and students as volunteers to serve as strong role models to mentor and tutor the students. The goal of the Sibanye Mentor Program is to support the family and the educational process by bolstering the fundamental skills of reading and math in students. This is accomplished by engaging in social and cultural activities geared towards enhancing values, growth and successful living. Training includes concrete skill exercises for mathematics and creativity exercises, as well as conflict management. The program incorporates a variety of skill building exercises which show students how to, for example, critically read a newspaper. As a fundamental part of this process, the program interacts with students in a group environment and addresses issues on a one-on-one basis, ensuring that each student's individual needs are met. The core mentoring and tutoring takes place at the Bolling Air Force Base Chapel, Washington, DC each Saturday morning and runs from October through June.

The program's students have consistently tested better and maintained better academic achievement test scores. A sampling of student report cards reveals most perform at the A and B level.