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Future Ready! connects students with mentors for college and career planning

Soft skills training helps students find their path to success

Thanks to the Future Ready! college and career mentoring program, students at five City Schools high schools are building relationships with caring adults and getting excited about high school and life after graduation. 

With assistance from the nonprofit MENTOR Maryland | DC, City Schools designed a mentoring program to support students’ soft skills, such as planning and critical thinking, and recruited adult mentors from local organizations like Bank of America, Under Armour and BGE. 

Mentors meet with students once a week for resume building, college and career research, and creating vision boards. More than 40 students took part in Future Ready! last school year, and most schools were able to match students with mentors on a one-to-one basis. 

“In designing Future Ready!, we wanted to prioritize students learning about themselves,” said Warren Wiggins, Mentoring and Adult Relationships Specialist. “We have personality tests, career assessments — anything that can prompt thought and discussion about where students want to go and how they can best succeed. With a mentor, they have a friend who’s been through school and been through the career-building process, so there’s a lot of insight and advice to share. The ultimate goal of Future Ready!, like all City Schools mentoring programs, is to connect students with adults who can act as a positive influence and motivate students to succeed.” 

For DeShawn Cornish, a rising senior at Renaissance Academy, his experience in Future Ready! with his mentor Layla Reeves confirmed his belief that college was his best route. 

“Some days we'd work on resumes, other days we’d just talk and get to know each other,” said Cornish. “Overall, I think Future Ready! got me ready to go out into the real world — to know what I need and where to find it. One of our mentors at Renaissance was actually a college recruiter, so it was great to get that perspective.”

Future Ready! hopes to pair students with the same mentor throughout their four years of high school. 

“We want students to build long-term relationships with their mentors,” said Wiggins. “Remote learning made launching a mentoring program challenging over the past couple of years, but the feedback from mentors, students and teachers has me convinced we’re on the right track.”

City Schools’ new Mentoring and Adult Relationships (MAR) team learned from piloting Future Ready! and aims to expand this work through partnering with mentoring programs across the city.

Through collaboration with other organizations, building mentoring programs at the school level and district-level programs like Future Ready!, City Schools is leveraging the power of mentorship to benefit students of all ages. Hear from students about the experience in the video below!