Group mentoring program for girls and boys 11-14 years of age. Weekly program (Wednesdays) March - December.
Youth STEP UP and out of life circumstances that limit their options. Youth learn to set goals; go on field trips; explore careers and learn life skills for success.
The Step Up Mentoring Program is one of Partners For Peace’s flagship offerings and German Lopez is behind its success. He is the coordinator of the program and has worked for Partners For Peace for over five years. He started as a volunteer, and then he was hooked.
He said that he felt a connection with youth in his community, “I know what kids are going through, I can relate to them growing up in East Salinas just as most of them.”
German, 32, attended Alisal High School and moved on to Fresno State University where he earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Liberal Studies. He is in the process of starting his master’s program to become a Special Education instructor in Monterey County.
“Partners For Peace works in the community,” he said. “All programs are for parents and youth; facilitators are familiar with the Latino community and can offer different options available to them.”
Step Up Mentoring is staffed with a coordinator, assistant coordinator, two college mentors, and one intern. During normal times, they have over 20 youth participating; during the pandemic, they have 14 youth in the program. Tutoring is offered on Wednesdays and Thursdays for 2-3 hours; they get Internet access, a computer, and meet any other need in order to help youth be successful, personally and academically.
Some of German’s duties include coordinating guest speakers, implementing a curriculum that shows support and understanding, designing pep talks, field trips, and more.
“Youth will learn about the consequences of drugs, alcohol, crime, and gangs from our guest speakers,” he said. “They realize that a life of crime leads them to limited paths; we are here to provide them with options that lead them to a healthy future.”
Youth get incentives as they show improvements. They also participate in outings that allow for social distancing, like kayaking and horseback.
“I want to give back to my community and provide guidance to youth,” he said. “I want to show them that if I made it, they can too.”
This program is active from March through December. For more information about Step Up Mentoring, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.