Bayless Elementary Mentoring Program
Currently, we are only allowed to mentor remotely to students who have returned to on-campus learning at Bayless. For new mentors, both Bayless and Honors feel strongly in the importance of making in-person connections to develop a positive relationship that will continue for your time at Texas Tech, or your mentee's time at Bayless.
Honors College Mentoring Program impacts hundreds of local elementary students
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Find your own Calcutta –
Honors College Bayless Elementary Mentoring Program
In 2014, after Michael San Francisco was named Dean of the Texas Tech University Honors College, he spent many hours thinking of opportunities to engage Honors College students in the Lubbock community.
During this time he read a story of a young woman who had worked with Mother Teresa, and whose townspeople in the United States wanted to move to Calcutta and work alongside the patron saint to love and care for those persons society often overlooks. Mother Teresa responded by saying, “Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering, and the lonely right where you are – in your own homes and in your own families, in homes and in your workplaces and in your schools. You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have eyes to see.”
Upon reading this quote, Dean San Francisco began reflecting on his involvement for a brief time as a volunteer at Bayless Elementary when he first moved to Lubbock in 1990, and suddenly he knew, Bayless is our Calcutta. He then, with Stacy Poteet approached the principal and reading intervention specialist at the elementary school and the Honors College Bayless Elementary Mentoring Program was born.
Bayless Elementary is a Title I school in the Lubbock Independent School District. The school has an approximate enrollment of 730 students with ninety-one percent of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch. Bayless faces several challenges, including a mobility rate of nearly thirty-three percent, as well as twenty-seven percent of the population identifying as at-risk. There are also several students each year identified as homeless. The purpose of the Bayless Mentoring program is to meet the needs of these students through the participation of the Honors College students, not only academically but as positive role models as well.
Dean San Francisco, Stacy Poteet, Lead Administrator of Honors scholarships, and ten Honors College students, selected as the Bayless Board, oversee the program and work directly with the Volunteer Coordinator at Bayless and the Bayless administration, collaborating to meet the needs of Bayless each year. Though mentoring is first priority, through the years, the Honors College has provided school supplies, teacher supplies, science fair poster boards, supplies for art projects, socks for the Honors College annual Socktober drive and hygiene products. In the spring of 2019, when a Bayless family lost their possessions in a house fire, students generously gave from their own wallets, donating $600 to be presented in the form of a gift card to the family.
Thirty students mentored during 2014-2015, the programs inaugural year. In the 2018-2019 academic year, over 100 Honors College students served as mentors at Bayless. Each Honors College mentor spends one class period each week with their mentee. Dean San Francisco and Stacy also mentor once a week. The program is only open to Honors College students and continues to grow each semester. The impact is being felt not only at Bayless but with the mentors as you can read below.
Being a part of the mentor program at Bayless Elementary has been the most rewarding volunteer experience I have had while at Texas Tech. My weekly trips to Bayless to hang out, help with schoolwork or play games with my student have become one of the best parts of my week. Seeing his face light up whenever he spots me never fails to fill me with happiness. Even though I only see my student once a week, I always leave with the feeling of accomplishment. Although we do not always do school work when I mentor, simply going and being able to be a role model and a system of support for my student is incredibly rewarding. Seeing my student and the struggles he goes through makes me want to give as much assistance to him as I can. He inspires me to accomplish all that I can so that I can be the best role model possible for him. Being a Bayless mentor and becoming close with a student has enhanced my college experience in a great way. It has opened my eyes to the inequity in my community as well as the power I have to decrease that inequity. I know that this program has not only helped the students at Bayless but has given me valuable experience as well.
— Lyndsey Walton
For more information on becoming a Bayless mentor,
please contact Stacy Poteet at email@example.com