It Takes A Community
In Kent School District, we believe all students should be given the same opportunities to succeed, regardless of their abilities, backgrounds, or family income and it takes an entire community to achieve this goal. Research has shown that when students have a positive role model or mentor in their lives, they have better attendance, higher academic achievement, and fewer instances of negative behavior.
We appreciate the volunteers, mentors, coaches, and positive role models who help successfully prepare all students for their futures!
One of the organizations that has a formal mentoring program in place in our schools is Glover Empower Mentoring (GEM). GEM is a unique mentoring program focused on informing, interacting, and inspiring youth and young adults through community-based mentorships and activities.
“We saw a need in our community and addressed it,” said Kendrick Glover, the director of GEM.
After bringing students to Highline College’s Black and Brown Summit in 2012, Glover, who was a counselor at Kent-Meridian High School at the time, worked with his colleagues and district leaders to start the Men on the Move program in Kent School District (KSD).
“We wanted to offer students more than a one-time experience,” Glover said. “We met quarterly with young men of color from KSD’s middle and high schools and it grew from 10 students to 100 or so.”
Since its inception in 2012, the Men on the Move program has served more than 1,800 young men by empowering students who have been historically underserved to support their needs for academic and social-emotional growth.
“If someone’s having a hard time and they need to find motivation, this program reminds you why you’re going to school, why you want to study, and why you want to graduate,” said Marcus Boston, a senior at Kent-Meridian who has been part of the program since 2012 when he was a student at Mill Creek Middle School.
This year, the program was revamped to serve young men and women of color directly at their high schools.
“Students are self-referred because we really want them to want to be there,” Glover explained. “We can really see what this program is doing for our community.”
Boston said this program helps give him and his peers space to breathe, connect with each other, and explore their futures.
“It’s not a forced thing, it’s for anyone who needs someone to talk with,” he explained. “They’re truly trying to help you out and let you take a moment to breathe. It’s really about the students and friendships.”
About 30 students from each traditional high school, Kent-Meridian, Kentlake, Kentridge, and Kentwood, meet monthly with their mentors in-person and have virtual check-ins throughout the month and as needed. Students are also encouraged to stop by GEM’s offices on Central Avenue.
“At Men and Women on the Move we teach our students how to be the change they want to see in themselves and their community,” Glover said. “The curriculum we teach is built to demonstrate leadership, advocacy and resiliency in our youth and young adults. We are not creating leaders, just revealing the leaders we already have within our schools.”
After he graduates this spring, Boston plans to enlist in the U.S. Navy and then return to the Puget Sound to become a veterinarian.
“This program has helped me gain responsibility, find my passion, and figure out what I want to do after I graduate,” he said.
Become A Mentor
Want to help inspire and support our students? Learn more about the GEM program and check out these additional opportunities to volunteer and give to our schools.