United Way “Be A Middle School Mentor” program comes to Propel North Side

Photo courtesy of United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania

Educational initiative is expanding to Propel North Side and the Mon Valley area

By: Neil Strebig

The United Way has been integrating its “Be A Middle School Mentor” program into city school districts for nearly a decade.

Now in its ninth year the program has just been awarded a three-year $375,000 grant from KeyBank and will be expanding its reach in the Northside of Pittsburgh and outwards towards the Mon Valley area.

“‘Be a Middle School Mentor’ helps to prepare students for high school and beyond, and encourage them to dream big by providing a positive role model in their lives,” said Damon Bethea, mentoring projects director, United Way. “We are thrilled to reach even more students through this proven program.”

Bethea served as mentor for three years at Manchester Elementary. He believes having even just one additional adult role model in a student’s life outside of their immediate family can have a tremendously positive impact on their approach to education and maturity.

“Be A Middle School Mentor” is the largest mentor program in the region and offers students the chance to make the transition from middle school to high school easier. The aim is use adult role models that help students understand the importance of education and maturity.

Propel North Side becomes the seventh school in the area to implement the program into their curriculum.

United Way has been conducting an annual study of the program and has found that the additional adult mentors provided have improved student attendance, grades and a decline in destructive behavior.

“[Teachers] Have noticed the kids are now more engaged and come to school with a better understanding of the connection school has with their future success,” said Bethea.

For more information on the program visit www.beamiddleschoolmentor.org.


Photo courtesy of United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania


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