I’ve been meaning to blog forever but it’s been quite the busy semester so I’m just getting around to it. SO this post is basically summing up the whole semester thus far (bear with me!).
This semester I’m taking Mentoring through Art, one of the Community Based Learning classes offered here at Stonehill. The premise of the class is to provide an artistic outlet and a college-aged mentor for “kids at risk” from a Brockton middle school. The first few weeks of the course entailed a little training on how to work with children, an in-depth tour of Brockton and a brief orientation in art. Our class split into two groups: visual arts and photography. I opted for photography since I have taken the class before and I actually work in the darkroom now. The kids from West Middle School finally joined us about a month after classes began. The first day was somewhat intimidating. Our job was to interact with the students and attempt to make some connections since at the end of the class period, the middle school students would have to pick their own mentor. After we let the kids settle into the Cushing Martin art studio with a snack, I approached a boy named Jack. I definitely had some initial fears. What if my mentee never talks…then what will we accomplish? Or what if he comes to me with a problem that I can’t fix? My fears were dissolved pretty quickly. Jack was a witty and smooth talking 11-year-old; we connected instantly on the basis of sharing a love of buffalo chicken and Dane Cook. We went through some getting-to-know-you-ice-breakers, but Jack was eager to start on our art project for the day. Our assignment was to take a walk around Stonehill to gather materials to make a “member” of our class “nest”. Jack and I chose to make Mother Nature. Since my expertise is more in photography, I actually needed Jack to construct most of the project, but he seemed to love every moment of it. We added our creation to the other animals in the nest and at that point, Jack officially picked me to be his mentor for the semester! Since then we’ve been working on various photo projects. The assignments are relatively open ended so I’ve been trying to think of projects that might enhance his self esteem but are also enjoyable. One of the perks of this class is that each photography mentee has their own film camera that they take home; it really adds a personal touch to each of our projects. I’ll be posting more as the semester goes along to give a better idea of what we actually do in class and hopefully some pics along with it! J