Typically, a summer with Elevate Indianapolis is filled with summer camps, basketball tournaments, pool parties, and all sorts of fun activities designed to deepen relationships and equip our students to navigate life’s toughest challenges. And while this summer is anything but typical, we are dedicated to serving economically disadvantaged urban youth, no matter what life brings.
To keep our kids safe this summer, we are shifting to small group mentoring and focusing on adventure programming. Painting in the park, disc golf, kayaking, hiking, paintball, and immersion trips to places like the Newport Aquarium have been useful outlets for shared experience, conversation, and stress relief.
Heading into this summer, we wanted to be sure that every Teacher-Mentor was equipped to show up for our students as an emotional first responder. Social-emotional mentoring is critical, now more than ever. In a summer where we all are facing uncertainty, our Teacher-Mentors are focusing on the emotional health of our students.
Elevate’s Teacher-Mentors spent two days in training to become certified through the Youth Mental Health First Aid program. This program uses the acronym ALGEE:
- Assess risk for suicide or self-harm
- Listen non-judgmentally
- Give reassurance
- Encourage professional help
- Encourage self-help
We have seen great results with this model, and we have been able to show up consistently as caring adult figures in their lives.
As we look toward a new school year, we will continue to integrate social-emotional mentoring into our program as a new normal way to serve our students. Our motto has always been “No One Gets There Alone,” and through social-emotional small group mentoring, we can continue to make that a reality in the lives of our students.