#1: What is the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative?
On March 22, 2011, Mayor Ravenstahl signed an Executive Order creating the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative and encouraging City employees to serve as mentors to middle school-aged youths. Since then, it’s been expanded to include an opportunity to mentor early elementary students in literacy skills.
The Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative provides up to two hours of administrative leave time per week for full-time City of Pittsburgh employees to serve as mentors through the Be A Middle School Mentor Program or Reading is Fundamental Pittsburgh’s Everybody Wins! program. Up to one hour is allowed for mentoring, and up one hour is allowed for transportation to and from the school. This is an ongoing commitment throughout most of the Pittsburgh Public School’s school year.
#2: Why should I become a mentor?
There is a wealth of research available that supports the positive effects of school-based mentoring. At its most basic level, mentoring helps because it guarantees a young person that there is someone who cares about them. A child is not alone in dealing with day-to-day worries.
Research confirms that mentoring works. A Brief published by Child Trends and titled "Mentoring: A Promising Strategy for Youth Development" found that young people who participate in mentoring relationships experience a number of positive benefits.
#3: What do mentors do?
Through the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative, City employees are able to mentor a local student through one of the following two options.
Be a Middle School Mentor
Be A Middle School Mentor is designed to match caring, well-prepared adults with sixth grade students in Pittsburgh Public Schools to help them develop career aspirations and encourage academic excellence.
Mentors are assigned to a partner mentoring agency and a specific school that is responsible for contacting, screening, and supervising them. Partner mentoring agencies are Communities in Schools, Big Brothers & Big Sisters, and Mt. Ararat Community Activity Center.
Mentors commit to visiting their assigned mentee at the mentee’s school during appointed Mentor Hours (determined by each school, but generally between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday). Mentors agree to visit their mentee for 45-60 minutes per week from October 2013 to May 2014. In addition, mentors agree to maintain supervised contact (via email or visits) over the summer months for a total commitment of at least 12 months. Mentors spend weekly time reviewing and completing assignments from the Career Education Workbook. These assignments usually take 15 minutes of the meeting time. The remaining time is spent listening, interacting and being a supportive, caring adult to the student. Mentors may provide academic assistance and support when appropriate.
Participating schools include: Pittsburgh Allegheny (North Side); Pittsburgh Arsenal (Lawrenceville); Pittsburgh Classical (West End); Pittsburgh King (North Side); Pittsburgh Schiller (North Side); Pittsburgh South Brook (Brookline); Pittsburgh South Hills (Beechview); Milliones (Hill District) and Pittsburgh Sterrett (Point Breeze).
The Everybody Wins! program addresses critical needs in Pittsburgh communities by increasing interest in reading among elementary school students. Driven by the idea that students learn to read up to third grade, the program matches caring adults with students in a fun, relaxing atmosphere for one-on-one literacy mentoring.
Mentors commit to visiting their assigned mentee at the mentee’s school during appointed lunchtime hours (determined by each school, but generally between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Monday through Friday). Mentors agree to visit their mentee for about 45 minutes per week from October 2013 to May 2014 for one-on-one reading experiences.
Participating schools include: Pittsburgh King (North Side), Pittsburgh Phillips (South Side), and Pittsburgh Weil (Hill District).
#4: How can I participate?
Steps for participation include:
*Clearances will be reviewed by the mentoring agency and Pittsburgh Public Schools staff. Final decisions on suitability are the responsibility of the partner agency and the assigned school.
#5: If I work 2nd or 3rd shift, can I still participate?
You may still participate in the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative. However, to receive administrative leave time the activity must fall within your normal work schedule.
#6: What if my position with the City is grant-funded?
For those employees who are not paid by general fund dollars, you should have written permission from the grantor/funder prior to participation in the program.
#7: May I use a City vehicle to drive to and from the school that I am assigned to?
City vehicle use may be permitted at your Director or designee’s discretion.
#8: Is co-mentoring allowed?
Co-mentoring (i.e., two adults serving as mentors to the same mentee on alternate weeks) is allowable for Everybody Wins!, as well as Be a Middle School Mentor at the following schools: Pittsburgh Allegheny (North Side); Pittsburgh King (North Side); and Pittsburgh Sterrett (Point Breeze). If you are interested in co-mentoring, please be sure to note this on your application. Those interested are encouraged to identify a co-mentor in their application.
#9: What if I mentored last year and want to continue mentoring?
If you mentored with the Be a Middle School Mentor (formerly Be a 6Th Grade Mentor) program during the 2012-2013 school year and you’d like to continue mentoring, we ask that you reapply to the servePGH office using the same application form. You are not required to attend another pre-mentoring training or submit clearances again. However, you are encouraged to attend a refresher training. These trainings will be scheduled by the Be a Middle School Mentor Coordinator.
If you mentored with the Be a 6th Grade Mentor program during the 2012-2013 school year and you’d like to begin mentoring with the Everybody Wins! program instead, you will be required to attend a pre-mentoring training with Reading is Fundamental Pittsburgh.
#10: What if I still have more questions?
Mayor's Office of Service and Civic Engagement
512 City County Building | 414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
telephone: 412-255-2280 | facsimile 412-255-2988