For At-Risk Kids, Mentors Provide Far More Than Just Homework Help

mentor
NPR Education
Jennifer Ludden
October 30, 2015
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When West Baltimore's Renaissance Academy High School hired four African-American mentors earlier this year, student Jalone Carroll wanted nothing to do with them. He figured they would come "mess everything up, and then dip," or disappear. Carroll is 20, but he has only enough credits to be in 10th grade. He says no one at other schools he attended ever seemed concerned. 

But the mentors at Renaissance Academy did care, and slowly they won Carroll's trust. When Carroll was hungry, one mentor would share the small, round pizzas he kept in the fridge. Another would make sure Carroll came to school and check on his homework. Carroll says their bond is now so close that — in perhaps the ultimate test in this impoverished community — if someone tried to hurt a mentor, he thinks some students would jump in to defend him.

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