Align Mentoring: Empowering Students to Succeed Beyond the Studio
Align Mentoring works to enhance the potential of every child at New Ballet Ensemble and School. Through the program, students broaden their view of the world, expose themselves to new opportunities and further integrate into the Memphis community. We provide our students with mentors to give them the support and resources they need to succeed beyond the studio. Mentoring is the cornerstone of creative youth development that, alongside our rigorous dance training, develops our students holistically.
What is Align Mentoring
Working with the Grizzlies Charitable Foundation and in Partnership with Grizzlies TEAM UP Youth Mentoring, New Ballet Ensemble and School provides the Align Mentoring Program. Serving our students here and at our partner schools, the Align Mentoring Program works to provide every child with a mentor.
Align Mentoring at New Ballet provides creative children with one to one mentoring. Our goal is to align interests and needs between mentor and mentee, strengthening the child's areas of weakness while celebrating his/her strengths. Mentors meet with the students at New Ballet Ensemble after school and before or after their afternoon of dance training once weekly for one hour Monday through Thursday or on Saturday. In some cases, mentors have discovered passions for other creative endeavors (crafting, languages, poetry, robotics) and in others, a deep need for special focus on reading or math. Still other young people seek the ear of a trusted advisor to listen as they work out their own solutions to sometimes diffiicult social or familial challenges. A student best voices our philosphy, "At New Ballet, who I am is good enough. I feel at home and loved. The teachers and mentors encourage us to improve and so we want to improve every day". - LeAnthony Douglas grade 11 Orange Mound
In the fall of 2016, we expanded the program to include "lunch buddies" at Dunbar Elementary. Mentors visit the cafeteria once weekly for lunch with one student, but will quickly find themselves embraced by the entire table. It's hard to leave Dunbar without feeling that the children have given us more love than anyone else we will encounter that day, besides, perhaps our own children. There are also additional needs for after school tutoring at Dunbar and New Ballet will align the mentors with the Principal and Guidance Counselor. Reading is chief among the needs at this wonderful little school and NBE will be adding a Family Resource Center this year as well as "little libraries" for families and community members.
Lastly, group mentoring is chiefly centered on our College Bound program. Topics include college research, the common app, how to research and write outside scholarships, mental preparedness for leaving home and encountering new cultures, and more.