After a year of strategic evaluation by the AchieveMpls staff and board, we’re excited to announce that Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities (BBBS) will take on the management and delivery of our Graduation Coaches mentoring program beginning July 1.
Graduation Coaches was launched in 2012 under the leadership of our former CEO Pam Costain to provide an additional layer of school-based mentoring for Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) high school students. Since then, hundreds of volunteer Coaches have supported over 1,500 students in building academic confidence and study skills, developing healthy peer relationships, strengthening self-advocacy skills and developing plans for careers and postsecondary education.
We are very proud of Graduation Coaches and the life-changing impact it has had on hundreds of students. We also believe that transitioning this program into the expert care of BBBS will better allow it to grow, become more innovative and serve even more students.
As the largest and longest-running mentoring organization in our region, BBBS has the capacity and expertise necessary to take Graduation Coaches to the next level. Led by CEO Michael Goar, a former Graduation Coach himself, BBBS has provided mentoring and innovative programming for over a half-million Minnesota youth with a focus on helping them meet their social, emotional, career and college potential. BBBS was recently named a My Brother’s Keeper Alliance “Community to Watch” for its strong record of working to improve life outcomes for boys and young men of color.
This transition will also allow us to refocus our resources on our two flagship career and college readiness programs, our Career & College Centers in 11 MPS high schools, and the Step Up Youth Employment Program, which provides training and paid internships in partnership with the City of Minneapolis, CareerForce Minneapolis and Project for Pride in Living. We will also continue to offer additional high-quality volunteer opportunities through our career exploration events and the Step Up Mock Interviews.
This year's Graduation Coaches program will continue uninterrupted through the end of the academic year, and we are working closely with the BBBS team to ensure a seamless hand-off. As we begin this process, we want to offer our tremendous thanks to our hundreds of volunteer Graduation Coaches, as well as MPS leadership and the school-based staff at Edison, North, Patrick Henry, Roosevelt, South, Southwest and Wellstone high schools who have generously partnered with us in this program. We are also grateful to our dedicated Graduation Coaches staff, particularly our current manager Amy Shapiro, who has so skillfully guided this program for the past four years.
Learn how you can be a Graduation Coach with BBBS for the 2019-20 school year by visiting the new BBBS Graduation Coaches web page or by contacting Thulani Jwacu, the organization's Twin Cities Director of Teen Programs.